By Marta Zhao
Nanping (Agenzia Fides) - A new Catholic Bishop - the third in less than a week - was consecrated today in the People's Republic of China. Peter Wu Yishun, 59, was ordained Bishop of the Apostolic Prefecture of Shaowu (Minbei), in the coastal province of Fujian. Pope Francis appointed him Bishop on December 16, 2023.
The liturgy of consecration of the new Bishop was celebrated in the parish dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in Chengguan, Jianyang District, Nanping City, Fujian province. Joseph Li Shan, Bishop of Beijing, presided over the consecration. Concelebrants included Vincent Zhan Silu, Bishop of Mindong, Joseph Cai Bingrui, Bishop of Xiamen, as well as Francis Xavier Jin Yangke, Bishop of Ningbo of Zhejiang Province. About eighty priests from different dioceses in China, and over 360 lay faithful also took part in the liturgy.
"In the framework of the Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China", reads the daily bulletin released by the Vatican Press Office, "today, Wednesday, January 31, 2024, the episcopal ordination of the Reverend Pietro Wu Yishan took place. The Reverend Wu Yishan was appointed by the Holy Father on 16 December 2023 as bishop of the Apostolic Prefecture of Shaowu, Minbei, in the Chinese province of Fujian".
Who is the new Bishop
Bishop Pietro Wu Yishun was born on December 7, 1964. He was ordained a priest on August 15, 1992, for the diocese of Xiamen. Later sent to Minbei, he served there as a pastor, holding various roles, including being the parish priest of Nanping and responsible for the Apostolic Prefectures of Shaowu (historically linked to the mission of the German Salvatorians) and Jian'ou (linked instead to the historical missions of the American Dominicans).
In November 2021, Peter Wu spoke at a seminar organized in Fujian Province on the correct direction to give to the so-called 'Sinicization' of Catholicism in China. On that occasion, the future bishop said that the Catholic faith and the local Chinese culture have indeed achieved a mutual 'harmony' and integration, and that this 'harmony' represents the very core and suggests the right direction for the 'Sinicization' of Catholicism. In that speech, Wu Yishun, starting from the Chinese concept of "harmony" (understood as a beneficial relationship between different parts), had highlighted the similarities between Chinese culture and certain contents and data acquired in Fundamental Theology in order to to point out that "things can coexist without harming each other, that streets can run side by side without colliding".
As a priest, Father Peter Wu organized summer camps for young people and was involved in initiatives to promote priestly and religious vocations. The priests and religious sisters of the diocese visited their parents in groups on the occasion of the Chinese New Year and thanked them for the support they had received from their families in pursuing the path of their vocation.
The missionary life of the community
The life of the Church community in the Apostolic Prefecture of Shaowu (Minbei) is interwoven with the ordinary gestures of catechism, liturgies and prayers, works of charity, the succession of months dedicated year after year to Saint Joseph, Mary, the Sacred Heart and the Rosary. The oldest churches are being restored and recovered, pastoral initiatives are being launched in accordance with the priorities set by the Successor of Peter. This is how the parishes celebrated with special initiatives the Pauline Year, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, and the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, proclaimed by Pope Francis. Prayers were held in the parishes for the success of the Olympic Games and for an end to the pandemic. In the face of earthquakes and natural disasters, funds and relief goods are collected for the affected populations, and then entrusted to the charitable network run by Jinde Charities.
During the Year of Mercy, the community designated two ancient churches, built more than 110 years ago, as shrines, through whose Holy Doors the faithful pass in communion with the universal Church and the Successor of Peter. (Agenzia Fides, 31/1/2024)