Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - The formation of new and "passionate workers" for the proclamation of the Gospel, at the service of the future of the Church, which in China continues to walk in the faith of the Apostles, is the mission and raison d'être of the Seminaries in mainland China, who are currently celebrating the beginning of the new academic year 2023/2024 in various ways.
According to information available to Fides, on Monday September 11, Bishop Joseph Shen Bin Shanghai presided over the opening of the new school Year at the diocesan Seminary.
This year, the Seminary, located in the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan, welcomed a total of 16 new seminarians and will also offer courses for lay people. In his address, Bishop Shen Bin encouraged the students and teachers of the Seminary, which he called the "window of the diocese", to "work together to improve teaching and formation activities" so that "all students can share the beautiful tradition of love for the homeland and for the Catholic Church in Shanghai in their studies and in their future life, deepening the excellent traditional Chinese culture and put down firm roots in the fertile soil of faith, so that they will experience three important changes: from aspiring students to scholars, from individuals to fellow human beings and from flocks to shepherds". The head of the United Front Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, who participated on September 6, with senior government officials, in the opening of the new academic year of the National Seminary with the singing of the Our Father, concluded by Ave Maria, retraced the history of the excellent results obtained during the 40 years of formation of the Seminary and paid tribute to all those who, during these decades, with tenacity and in silence, worked even with effort to the development of education and formation. Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing gave the opening address and called for "making the National Seminary the best and highest school of Catholicism in China". The new rector of the Seminary, Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai of Chengde, emphasized that prayer, care for spiritual life and renewal of administration are the most important points to promote vocations and make the Seminary a welcoming home. As a concrete gesture of welcome, the National Seminary offered three days of hospitality to the parents of the new seminarians who came from all over the country so that they could witness this important new beginning for their sons. Bishop Anthony Dang Mingyan of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, and rector of the Shaanxi Philosophical Theological Seminary, presided over the opening of the new academic year on September 7th. In the words of St. Paul, the bishop encouraged the seminarians: “For you should live a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in everything. You shall bear fruit in every kind of good work and grow in the knowledge of God. May he give you much strength in the power of his glory... (cf. Col 1:9-14)". The bishop personally welcomed the 20 new students (11 seminarians and 9 religious sisters) by calling them individually by name and naming them as role models to follow the patron saint of the Seminary, Saint Therese of Lisieux, and the great Lazarist missionary Father Frédéric Vincent Lebbe. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 14/9/2023)