Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - On the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, in just one day, the parishes and chapels of the Archdiocese of Beijing have collected a total of 344,098.28 Yuan (equivalent to almost 50,000 euros) in donations for the diocesan Seminary of Beijing. In the letter of thanks, signed by all the students and teachers of the Seminary and addressed to Bishop Joseph Li Shan, to all the parish priests and lay faithful, it is emphasized that in the first repetition of the collection after a three-year break due to the pandemic, "we saw the same generosity, enthusiasm and faith and we are moved".
Despite the difficulties, including financial ones, parish priests have worked intensely to promote the World Day of Prayer for Vocations and invited all baptized Catholics to meet the material needs related to the formation of seminarians, who in the future will be called to serve the communities. "We ask the bishop, priests and parishioners to continue to support and pray for the Seminary, so that more and more young men will join us and devote themselves to the service of the Church. We too, will always remember you in our prayers", reads the letter of thanks.
The ecclesial community of the diocese brings in different ways its closeness to the young candidates for the priesthood who are being formed in the Seminary and come from different regions of China. In particular, the parishioners of the Beijing parish dedicated to St. Michael - which was once the chapel of the Seminary, and then converted into a parish in 2003 due to pastoral needs of the area, and also remains a place of pastoral formation for seminarians today - consider the seminarians like their children, and care for them all year round and not only on the big feasts or on Vocation Day with books and food.
In 2021, the Beijing Seminary celebrated its 40th anniversary. According to the statistics provided to Agenzia Fides at the time, the Beijing Seminary had trained 320 seminarians up to 2021, of whom 187 were ordained priests, and three were ordained bishops. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 9/5/2023)