Chinese Bishop Joseph Shi Hongchen Dies

TIANJIN, China, APRIL 26, 2005 ( Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Shi Hongchen of Tianjin died on March 3, the Vatican’s Fides agency reported. He was 77.

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The prelate suffered a stroke in 2001 which left him in a wheelchair but lucid in mind.

He was ordained a priest in August 1957. From 1958 to 1966 he was forced to work in a plastics factory. During the Cultural Revolution he underwent a period of «re-education» followed by imprisonment from 1971 to 1979.

After being proven innocent and released, he engaged in pastoral activity and evangelization and eventually was consecrated bishop of the Diocese of Tianjin.

Tianjin is an industrial area with one of the largest ports in China.

Bishop Shi Hongchen’s body lay in state for a day in the Cathedral of St. Joseph of XiKai. His funeral took place March 5.

The diocese has 100,000 faithful in a population of 10 million. The faithful are looked after by 30 priests, 15 seminarians, and 34 women religious.

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