Date: 23 Feb., 2021    
Agenzia Fides –
Subject: Fides: Mgr. Andrea Han Jingtao dies – Bishop Joseph Zong Huaide died

ASIA/CHINA – Mgr. Andrea Han Jingtao dies: after 27 years of forced labor, he devoted himself primarily to the formation of priests, nuns and lay people

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – Bishop Andrew Han Jingtao, of the “unofficial” community of Siping (Jilin), died in the night between 30 and 31 December 2020. Born on July 26, 1921, to a devoted Catholic family from Shanwanzi, Weichang County, Hebei, the family moved to Linxi County, Inner Mongolia during his childhood. In 1932 he entered the Minor Seminary of Siping and in 1940 joined the Major Seminary of Changchun. He was ordained a priest on 14 December 1947. Because of his Catholic faith and his loyalty to the Pope, he was arrested in 1953 and, after a period of imprisonment, he was sentenced to forced labor for 27 years, 6 of which he spent in isolation in a bunker.

In 1980, thanks to the intervention of Vice-President Deng Xiaoping, he was released in consideration of the services that he, as a scholar, could render to the State. He worked as a lecturer at Changchun Normal University and at The Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations at the Northeast Normal University, with the title of associate professor. He introduced many Chinese students to the study of Latin and Greek as well as classical western culture. After dedicating himself to his studies at an early age, he was regarded by the faithful as a “giant of culture and faith”, but was also valued for his commitment to civil education. His main works include the translation of the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas into Chinese.

On May 6, 1982 he was secretly consecrated Coadjutor Bishop of Siping, of which in 1986, after the death of Mgr. Chang Zhenguo, he became ordinary bishop. As such, he was particularly involved in the formation of priests, nuns and lay people, not failing to sensitize all the faithful about evangelization and charity. In the diocese he founded the Legio Mariae and the Religious Congregation of Mount Calvary, a male branch and a female branch. In 1993 he founded the first health center and the first retirement home of the diocese, as well as an orphanage.

In recent years, Bishop Han Jingtao lived under the tight control of the police. After the funeral, in which neither the clergy nor the faithful were able to participate, the remains were cremated. Thanks to the urgent requests of the members of his family, the local authorities allowed that the ashes of the Bishop to be placed in the cemetery of his native village, alongside his parents. No religious sign or title of Bishop is present on his tombstone. (Agenzia Fides, 23/2/2021)

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ASIA/CHINA – Bishop Joseph Zong Huaide died at the age of 100: he devoted himself to prayer and charitable works

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – On January 5, 2021 at 8 p.m., His. Exc. Mgr. Joseph Zong Huaide, Bishop emeritus of Sanyuan, in the province of Shaanxi (Mainland China) died.

He was born on June 16, 1920 in a village in Wuguanfang, in Sanyuan County, the fourth of five children to a Catholic family. He entered the Minor seminary of Tongyuanfang in 1935.

After completing his theological studies, he was ordained a priest on June 5, 1949.

Later he carried out the pastoral ministry in Fuping and in Tongyuanfang, as parish priest and then in the Cathedral of Sanyuan. From 1961 to 1965, he was forbidden to exercise the pastoral ministry, which is why he retired to his house and began to cultivate the land there. He was arrested for his belief in 1965 and sentenced to forced labor in 1966. In February 1980 he was released and returned to work as a priest in Tongyuanfang.

On 9 August 1987 he was secretly ordained bishop and after a few years he was officially recognized as such by the civil authorities. On 23 December 1997 he was able to make a pilgrimage to Italy, where he was received by Pope John Paul II in the Vatican.

In 2003 the Holy See accepted his resignation. Since then, Bishop Zong Huaide spent his time in prayer and charitable service. His loving and delicate character made him popular with everyone. Numerous memories and praises for his testimony were shared on social media after his death.

From January 5th to January 10th, the body of Bishop Zong was exposed to the faithful in the church of Tongyuan: on January 11th, the funeral was celebrated there and the prelate was buried.

Currently, the Diocese of Sanyuan has about 40,000 faithful, with 46 priests and the presence of various religious orders for men and women. (Agenzia Fides, 23/2/2021)

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