Four new deacons of Shanghai diocese have been ordained to priesthood at St. Peter’s Church, Shanghai city, on June 7. They were ordained by Bishop Shen Bin of Haimen, a neighboring diocese. The bishop of Shanghai, Msgr. Taddeo Ma Daqin, has been under house arrest since 2012 and is forbidden to have contact with the public and to exercise his episcopal functions.
A day earlier, June 6, the four priests were ordained deacons at the same church, also by Bishop Shen, vice president of bishops’ council and of Patriotic Association. Bishop Shen, ordained a bishop with a papal mandate, is recognized by the Chinese government. Assisting the liturgies were Father Wu Jianlin and Father Gu Zhangjun, both of Shanghai diocese.
It is highly unusual for deacons to proceed immediately to presbyteral ordination. But this is due to the fact that the Shanghai seminary has been closed by government order since 2012 and they young candidates have been waiting for ordination for some time. They had completed their studies in 2012 just before the seminary was closed.
The neo-ordinates are: Peter Ren Yaning, Joseph Wu Yongtao, Joseph He Xiangxi, Pius Wu Newly ordained priests are Peter Ren Yaning, Joseph Wu Yongtao, Joseph He Xiangxi, Pius Wu Zhiqiang. They were respectively originated from Zhaoxian (Hebei), Xianxian (Hebei) and Changzhi (Shanxi) dioceses.
The new priests will celebrate their first Mass at Sheshan Basilica at 9 am. They graduated from Sheshan Regional Seminary at the times when Shanghai diocese became unstable in 2012.
A source said that it was sad to see the seminarians of Shanghai suffer because of the difficult situations in the diocese, but happy to know that they persisted in pursuing priesthood, and “amazing to see them become priests”.
At the ordination Mass on June 17, more than 40 priests, including 30 from Shanghai diocese, concelebrated. Hundreds of Catholics, including the new priests’ families, attended liturgies of both days.
Sources said Bishop Xing Wenzhi and Bishop Ma Daqin were not at the liturgies of June 6-7.
The last priestly ordination of Shanghai diocese was in Oct. 24, 2013 in Haimen city, at which Father Xie Huimin was also ordained by Bishop Shen at his cathedral.
This was another major Church event in Shanghai diocese, after the vow-taking of 17 religious Sisters on May 18.