Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - On January 5, 2021 at 8 p.m., His. Exc. Mgr. Joseph Zong Huaide, Bishop emeritus of Sanyuan, in the province of Shaanxi (Mainland China) died.
He was born on June 16, 1920 in a village in Wuguanfang, in Sanyuan County, the fourth of five children to a Catholic family. He entered the Minor seminary of Tongyuanfang in 1935.
After completing his theological studies, he was ordained a priest on June 5, 1949.
Later he carried out the pastoral ministry in Fuping and in Tongyuanfang, as parish priest and then in the Cathedral of Sanyuan. From 1961 to 1965, he was forbidden to exercise the pastoral ministry, which is why he retired to his house and began to cultivate the land there. He was arrested for his belief in 1965 and sentenced to forced labor in 1966. In February 1980 he was released and returned to work as a priest in Tongyuanfang.
On 9 August 1987 he was secretly ordained bishop and after a few years he was officially recognized as such by the civil authorities. On 23 December 1997 he was able to make a pilgrimage to Italy, where he was received by Pope John Paul II in the Vatican.
In 2003 the Holy See accepted his resignation. Since then, Bishop Zong Huaide spent his time in prayer and charitable service. His loving and delicate character made him popular with everyone. Numerous memories and praises for his testimony were shared on social media after his death.
From January 5th to January 10th, the body of Bishop Zong was exposed to the faithful in the church of Tongyuan: on January 11th, the funeral was celebrated there and the prelate was buried.
Currently, the Diocese of Sanyuan has about 40,000 faithful, with 46 priests and the presence of various religious orders for men and women. (Agenzia Fides, 23/2/2021)