Three bishops, approved by pope and government, ordained in China

Pope Francis waves as people behind him raise a Chinese flag before the pope's Mass in Steppe Arena in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Sept. 3, 2023. At the end of the Mass, the pope sent greetings to China and to Chinese Catholics. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Three bishops were ordained last week in China with the approval of both Pope Francis and the Chinese government.

The ordination Mass for Bishop Peter Wu Yishun, 59, was celebrated Jan. 31 after Pope Francis named him head of the Apostolic Prefecture of Shaowu in the Chinese province of Fujian Dec. 16. The apostolic prefecture had been without a bishop since 1964.

Bishop Anthony Sun Wenjun, 53, was ordained to the episcopacy Jan. 29 in Weifang. Bishop Thaddeus Wang Yuesheng was ordained the bishop of Zhengzhou Jan. 25.

All three appointments were “in the framework of the Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China,” the Vatican stated. The accordance was originally signed in 2018 and has been renewed every two years since.

The text of the agreement has not been published, but Vatican officials have said it outlines procedures for ensuring Catholic bishops are elected by the Catholic community in China and approved by the pope before their ordinations and installations.

In the past six years, only nine bishops have been named and installed under the terms of the agreement. Bishop Wang’s appointment was the first one since 2022, according to AsiaNews.

Bishop Wang was born in Zhumadian in Henan province Feb. 27, 1966, and was ordained in Hankou in 1993. He served as parish priest in Zhengzhou and parish priest in the district of Huji, according to the Vatican.

Bishop Sun Wenjun attended the Sheshan Seminary in Shanghai from 1989 to 1994 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1995 in Beijing. The Vatican said he carried out pastoral ministry in Shandong from 2005 to 2007; from 2007 to 2008, he “continued his formation” in Ireland. Upon his return to China, he has been ministering in Weifang.

Establishing the Diocese of Weifang, the Vatican said, the pope suppressed the former Apostolic Prefecture of Yiduxian. The last bishop of the prefecture, who was recognized by the government but not by the pope, died in 2008.

Bishop Wu Yishun was ordained priest for the Diocese of Xiamen on Aug. 15, 1992 and then sent to the Minbei region of the Fujian province where he was pastor of the Nanping parish and responsible for both the Apostolic Prefecture of Shaowu and the Apostolic Prefecture of Jian’ou, which has not had a bishop since 1953.


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