China: fourth bishop ordained this year

Bishop Joseph Han Yingjin blesses his family members

Bishop Joseph Han Yingjin blesses his family members

The fourth bishop being ordained in China this year says he will build up solidarity among his priests and facilitate systematic Bible study at diocesan level.

Despite being an introvert, Bishop Joseph Han Yingjin of Sanyuan says he will make it his priority to visit his priests and listen to their problems.

“I will strive to work this out for the sake of Christ,” said the 52-year-old prelate who was episcopally ordained on June 24, feast of Saint John the Baptist.

He added that he would also boost evangelization efforts and set up a fund for priests’ retirement and medical needs.

Bishop Han was ordained with both papal and government approval.

About 3,000 people packed the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sanyuan county to witness the ordination. Bishop Han’s predecessor, Bishop Joseph Zong Huaide, ordained the new prelate.

Other bishops present were Bishops Anthony Dang Mingyan of Xi’an, Louis Yu Runchen of Hanzhong, Joseph Tong Changping of Weinan, Nicholas Han Jide of Pingliang and Joseph Li Jing of Ningxia. They are all approved by the Vatican and the government.

Priests and laypeople have given the thumbs up to the new bishop, saying his faith, experience and academic qualifications stand him in good stead for his new role.

Bishop Han was born into a Catholic family in 1958 and entered the Sanyuan seminary in 1986. He was ordained a priest in 1992 after which he served in the Sanyuan seminary. He was made a parish priest in 1993.

He studied at two universities subsequently and was elected as a bishop candidate in 2007. Pope Benedict XVI gave his approval in 2008 for then Father Han to be made a bishop.

Sanyuan diocese has 40,000 Catholics in 52 parishes, served by 36 priests and some 80 nuns.

The 83-year-old retired Bishop Joseph Lan Shi of Sanyuan, who was secretly ordained in 2000 and is not recognized by the government, has given his support to Bishop Han although he did not attend the ordination, Church sources said.

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