ASIA/CHINA - Belgian delegation led by Cardinal Jozef De Kesel visits mainland China

Wednesday, 12 June 2024 local churches   bishops   evangelization   pastoral  

Ulaan Chab (Agenzia Fides) - A five-member Belgian delegation led by Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, Archbishop Emeritus of Malines-Brussels and President of the Ferdinand Verbiest Foundation of Leuven is visiting China. The delegation also includes Father Charles Phukuta, Superior General of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Scheut Missionaries, CICM) and Father Jeroom Heyndrickx CICM, a great friend of the Catholic Church in China.
At the invitation of the Chinese bishops, the Belgian delegation arrived in China on June 7 and will stay there until June 14. The aim of the visit is "to consolidate the results of previous mutual visits between the two Churches and to further strengthen cultural exchanges and ecclesial cooperation", as was confirmed after the first meetings held in Beijing on June 8.
The trip of the Belgian delegation to China follows the visit made last September by four Chinese Catholic bishops to Europe (Belgium, Holland and France) to resume fraternal cooperation between the Churches after the difficult period of the pandemic (see Fides, 18/9/2024).
In the capital, the Belgian delegation had the opportunity to meet with the Bishop of Beijing Joseph Li Shan, the Bishop of Shanghai Joseph Shen Bin, the Bishop of Zhoucun Joseph Yang Yongqiang and the Bishop of Chengde Joseph Guo Jincai, current Rector of the National Seminary.
Cardinal De Kesel also visited the Archdiocese of Beijing and concelebrated the Sunday Eucharist in the Cathedral of the Holy Redeemer, dedicated to the Sacred Heart, together with Bishop Joseph Li Shan and the priests of the diocese.
During the meetings, the Chinese bishops and their guests from Belgium were able to discuss the pastoral problems and urgent needs of their churches and talk about possible increased cooperation in the areas of priestly fprmation, vocations pastoral care, catechesis and proclamation of the Gospel.
In the National Seminary, the members of the Belgian delegation met with the seminarians and teaching staff for a joint prayer. On June 10, the Belgian guests traveled to the diocese of Hohhot in the province of Inner Mongolia, where they were received by Bishop Paul Meng Qinglu.
Bishop Meng explained to the guests the situation of the diocese and the history of the development of the Catholic community in Hohhot, as well as the current situation of the regional seminary of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Finally, Bishop Meng, the priests of the diocese and the Belgian guests concelebrated the Eucharistic liturgy. The program of the Belgian delegation continues today with a visit to the diocese of Jining/Wumeng (Ulaan Chab region), also in Inner Mongolia. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 12/6/2024)