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Three new priests for Wenzhou diocese

Wenzhou (AsiaNews): More that 4,000 people attended the ordination of three new priests for the Wenzhou diocese, Zhejiang, on April 30. Reverend Cai Zhengyou, Reverend Lin Yi and Reverend Song Shanxun, were ordained by the former bishop, Bishop Zhu Weifang at an ordination Mass concelebrated with Father Ma Xianshi, the vicar general, and Father Lin Shenli together with at least 35 other priests.

The 90-year-old Bishop Zhu had previously announced his retirement on March 23 and delegated some tasks to Father Ma.

The new priests’ preparation followed a tortuous path. They began their studies in Tailaiqiao, on the outskirts of Shanghai, and then entered the regional seminary in Sheshan.

However, Sheshan seminary was closed until further notice after Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin resigned from the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association following his ordination in July 2012.

The three had to continue their studies at the Hebei seminary until 2015. In all, their training lasted 11 years.

“Today is a day of glory and the start of a mission with a heavy cross,” said the newly-ordained Father Song. For this reason, he asked “the faithful to pray for them and show care and support” as they set off on their path of pastoral work.

Father Lin said that his focus will be on providing counselling and pastoral outreach to families who face great challenges in society, as well as to married couples.

Father Cai said that he wants to centre his work on hospice care and the bereaved, especially among non-Catholics, to help people cope with these difficult moments.

All three new priests are from old Catholic families and their faith has been passed down over several generations. This made them extremely conscious of the need to foster priestly vocations. Indeed, the seeds of vocation were sown in their hearts early on under the guidance of priests. 

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