Chinese Province Experiences Vocation Surge

KOENIGSTEIN, Germany, DEC. 9, 2005 ( The Chinese province of Shaanxi is experiencing a veritable springtime of vocations, according to one of its priests.

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Father Stephen Chen, director of the Catholic Social Center in the Diocese of Sian, told the charity Aid to the Church in Need that 260 priests are serving some 280,000 Catholics in the central province of Shaanxi. There are eight dioceses there.

“More than 600 sisters are serving the poor, the sick and the elderly as well as working in education,” he said during a recent visit to the Germany-based charity.

“Young people are getting more and more interested in the faith,” the priest added. “My diocese has two seminaries and a lot of vocations both to the priesthood and to female religious life.

“Over the past 20 years about 400 churches were built in the province, but still more of them are needed, especially in small villages. Sadly, many church buildings are in very bad conditions and need to be repaired or rebuilt.”

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