Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing said a prayer for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Holy See "as soon as possible" during the solemn Eucharistic Liturgy inaugurating the academic year 2023-2024 of the diocesan seminary. The solemn Mass, presided over by Bishop Li Shan, was celebrated in the church of the diocesan seminary on Monday, August 28, just days before Pope Francis' trip to Mongolia. On his way to and from the great Asian country, Pope Francis will, as usual, send telegrams to the heads of state of the countries whose airspace will be crossed by the papal flight, including Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Chancellor of the Diocese, Fr. Matthew Zhen Xuebing, and the Secretary of the Council for Ecclesiastical Affairs, Rev. Zhu Jie, attended the Eucharistic celebration at the seminary as concelebrants along with the Rector and faculty priests.
In his homily, Bishop Joseph Li Shan prayed "for the success of the new academic year, for the seminarians in their pursuit of knowledge, for their families and benefactors, and for the speedy establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican." In his address to the seminarians, the bishop encouraged them to sincerely follow their vocation and always keep their identity in mind when confronting the problems of daily life. "God," Bishop Li Shan said, among other things, "has called us and sent us to do His will... Likewise, you must move with the times." In his address to young men preparing for the priesthood, the bishop quoted Psalm 127 ("Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate"). The liturgical assembly also prayed that the Holy Spirit would descend upon the seminary to accompany and fruitful the academic and professional journey of the seminarians. Finally, the Bishop of Beijing turned again to the seminarians, taking up the words of Paul in the Letter to the Philippians: "And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God". (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 31/8/2023)