ASIA/CHINA - "Open your heart to welcome the Lord": the retreat of priests and nuns from the diocese of Ningxia underlines the importance of spirituality

Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Ningxia (Agenzia Fides) - Open your heart, close your mouth, meditate in silence, make an examination of conscience to welcome the Lord during prayer, a face-to-face meeting with the Lord to be able to hear his voice and respond to his call.
These are the characteristics of the annual spiritual retreat of the diocese of Ningxia (Yinchuan), in mainland China, which took place from June 25 to 28. According to reports from Faith, the most authoritative Chinese Catholic bulletin in print and online, 37 priests, seminarians and nuns from the diocese took part in the retreat on the importance of spirituality.
The four effects of spirituality were explained in depth through the Bible, psychology, spirituality: it gives meaning to pastoral and missionary activity; helps find answers to life's questions; it can renew the mission; facilitates interaction with God. Msgr. Joseph Li Jing, Bishop of the diocese, joined the priests, nuns and seminarians to encourage the synodal journey after the spiritual retreat, so that they transform their pastoral, social and missionary work with a new spiritual impulse.
The diocese of Ningxia is very active in the social sphere, bringing the magisterium of the Church into concrete service. Thus, following the invitation to protect the environment, as Pope Francis teaches in his Encyclical Laudato Sì on the care of the common home, the diocesan social service center often organizes various initiatives related to the theme. These include the production of vegetables free of pollutants, the propaganda of separate collection of waste and the campaign for a plastic free world, the banning of plastic in order to protect the environment and practice the concept of green development, which has also been relaunched by the government.
In addition, Msgr. Li personally guides the march of Catholics on World Environment Day on June 5. The diocese also gave the utmost importance to the formation of priests, nuns, catechists, pastoral workers, Catholic volunteers and social workers, so that they can make Catholic witness alive in every area of life.
The diocese of Ningxia was born with the arrival of the Missionaries of Scheut (Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, CICM). In 1879, Fr. Van Sante Karel and Fr. Bermyn Aifons CICM, brought the Gospel to the Ningxia region, where the Muslim population of the Hui ethnic group lives. In 1922 the Apostolic Vicariate of Ningxia was created, with Msgr. Godefroy Frederix as the first Bishop. It was then erected a diocese in 1946, the year of the establishment of the Church hierarchy in China. This diocese boasts Msgr. Joseph Ma Zhongmu (1 November 1919 - 25 March 2020) as its bishop, who recently passed away at the age of 101. Msgr. Ma was the only bishop of Mongolian ethnicity. Among the innumerable merits of this great Pastor is the translation of the Roman Missal and the Gospel into the Mongolian language. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 6/7/2022)