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China first with Saint Teresa of Kolkata parish

CANGZHOU (SE): The first parish church in the world dedicated to Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata was dedicated on the day of her canonisation in Rome, September 4, in Cangzhou, in the diocese of Xi’an, China.

It has been officially named the parish of Saint Teresa of Kolkata. Although several other parishes in China have already been dedicated to Mother Teresa, this is the first one to be able to add the title saint to the name.

Fides reported that Bishop Joseph Li Lian Gui presided at a solemn Mass for the consecration of the parish church of Jiao He Kou, in the village of Hao Cun, with 15 and 500 people taking part.

The bishop of Xian Xian said that this small Catholic community, located in a remote farming village, fully reflects the figure of the saint; humble, simple, pious and zealous.

Many years ago Catholicism in these places was almost non-existent. There was only one Catholic family. But with the beginning of the mass migration of working-age people to the big cities in search of more profitable work, three families who had been baptised while they were away returned.

They began to gather people together to read the scriptures and invited priests to come and run classes. As time went by, more people were baptised.

In 2011, a group calling itself Evangelisation of Charity was formed and the community has grown and now has about 300 people.

During the consecration of the church, Bishop Li administered the sacraments of Christian initiation, baptism and confirmation, to 11 adult catechumens, who also made their first communion.

The parish priest, Father Li Shengqun, told Fides, “We want to continue to follow in Mother Teresa’s footsteps of charity. Because without concrete works, faith dies, as St. James says. Verbal announcement and charitable activity are living faith and evangelisation.”

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