Shohchow (Fides Service) - Bishop Bonaventura Luo Jun, of the diocese of Shohchow (Shuoxian/Shuozhou) in the northern area of the province of Shanxi (mainland China), situated 340 km south west of Beijing, died on March 15 at the age of 90 of renal insufficiency and heart complications following an operation on a fractured leg caused by a fall in January.
Luo Jun was born in 1917 in the city of Shuozhou. He entered minor seminary in 1935, completed his studies in philosophy and theology and was ordained a priest in 1944. He served in his own diocese and was then appointed parish priest in the archdiocese of Lanzhou (Gansu province). Between 1949 and 1954 he went back to his home town and worked as a farm hand. In 1954 he resumed his studies in Fenyang and later worked in a hospital. His medical knowledge allowed him to open a clinic for ophthalmology 1986: “The clinic - he used to say - was also a channel for evangelisation to heal not only the eyes but also the spirit of Catholics and non Catholics”. He was ordained a bishop on 8 July in 1990 at the age of 73 and guided the diocese for 16 years until his death.
The diocese of Shohchow (Shuoxian/ Shuozhou), situated in a remote very poor area has an area of 17,000 sq km. It has a community of about 10,000 Catholics mostly peasants, spread over 17 counties: there are two elderly priests and ten young priests and about ten religious of the diocesan congregation Dominicans of St Joseph.
The Catholic community of the ecclesiastical circumscription is deeply involved in proving social services to the local people, as well as medical care at the ophthalmic centre opened by Fr in 1986 which still functions well.
Bishop Luo, will be remembered as a man of firm faith and a good bishop, always in communion with the universal Church. When faced with difficulties the Bishop, trusting in the words of Jesus said : “Bishops and priests are ready to suffer, confident that blessed are those of suffer for the sake of justice ”.
The funeral was held on 21 March. The Mass was presided by Bishop Silvestro Li Jiantang, archbishop of Taiyuan, with the participation of the Bishops of Yuci and Fenyang and many priests and faithful of the province. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 26/3/2007; righe 31, parole 430)