Fuzhou (Agenzia Fides) - Peter Lin Jiashan, Archbishop of Fuzhou (mainland China) died today, April 14, 2023, at the age of 88 after a long illness. According to the statement of the Funeral Committee, reported by xinde.org, the Archishop's funeral will take place at Fuzhou Cathedral, dedicated to the Holy Rosary, on the morning of Monday, April 17. The Archbishop's body "will be cremated at Fuzhou Funeral Home in accordance with the Catholic Rite". The statement recalls that Archbishop Lin carried out his ministry with fidelity and passion, "devoting his entire life to the Lord and to the Church".
Born in 1936 in Changle District, baptized with his entire family in 1946, arrested and taken to labor camps at the time of the Cultural Revolution, Lin only managed to become a priest in 1981, at the age of 46. And it was Joseph Fan Xueyan, the martyred bishop of Baoding, who conferred him the priestly ordination.
In 1984, Peter Lin was again deprived of his liberty for 10 years. In 1997 he had received episcopal ordination from John Yang Shudao, bishop of Fuzhou, not recognized by the government.
In 1991 in Fuzhou a bishop was also ordained according to the procedures imposed by the religious policy of the government: he was Joseph Zheng Changcheng, born in 1912 into a family of carpenters.
After Zheng's death in 2006, no new "official" bishops, recognized by the government, were appointed in Fuzhou.
On June 9, 2020, the Chinese political authorities officially recognized the episcopal ministry of Peter Lin Jiashan. The "officiating" act was held in Fuzhou Cathedral in the presence of some 80 people, in compliance with the measures imposed by the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to the official installation act, Archbishop Lin had sent a letter to priests and consecrated women in which, among other things, he reported that he had accepted the recognition of the bodies accountable to the government because his intent was to "seek unity" in the diocese, and after the China-Holy See agreement of 2018 and the "pastoral guidelines" published by the Vatican Dicasteries in 2019, the "conditions" for moving forward on the path of reconciliation were fully realized. Lin assured that the act of publicly formalizing his episcopal ministry was fully in accordance with the faith confessed by the "one, holy, Catholic and apostolic" Church. Archbishop Lin also asked all the baptized to "live in a spirit of unity and communion, following the path of reconciliation through mutual acceptance and forbearance, avoiding attacks and judgments that fuel discord, in order to be one in Jesus Christ". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 14/4/2023)