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Bishop Ma chalks up 100 days out of public eye


SHANGHAI (AsiaNews): After chalking up 100 days of forced rest and recreation, Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daquin has published segments from his dairy, penned during his virtual confinement at Sheshan Seminary, since he publicly quit his post in the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association when he was ordained a bishop in Shanghai on July 7.

He writes in a lighthearted manner on his blog, which he posted on October 16, about being bitten by centipedes and the moments of laughter with the other priests in the house.

He also describes a life of prayer and thanks God for the amusing moments that come his way.

As a result of his bold announcement that he would quit the Patriotic Association, he has been banned from public ministry or wearing his bishop’s insignia.

In addition, Sheshan Seminary and a minor seminary in the city have both been closed down by the authorities while the internal affairs of a diocesan congregation of sisters has been interfered with.

During the initial 10 days of his forced retirement from public life, the bishop gave up writing his regular blog, but resumed his scribbling on July 16. However, he did not post anything until he reached the 100-day milestone.

“Unknowingly, I have lived at Sheshan for 100 days,” Bishop Ma writes.

He says that he chose the 100-day mark, as it is a significant time of mourning for Chinese people after the death of family or a loved one.

“When parishioners mourn their relatives or friends, on the 100th day after the death they ask their parish priest to offer a Mass for the Dead to remember them. Although it is the 100th day for me, I don’t need a Mass for the dead or requiem, because I am alive and well,” the 44-year-old bishop quips.

He also pointed out that in Chinese tradition the 100th day after birth of a new baby in the family is celebrated.

“Looking back at the 100 days, every day, I did reflection, prayer, some reading and drank tea,” Bishop Ma says. “Even though this life seems extremely monotonous, God always arranges some light moments to amuse me as a pastime.”

He relates how being bitten by a centipede in bed was the source of some hilarity at the meal table with seminarians on the following day, which prompted more stories from other people.

“For those who have had such experiences, at each sharing, there is a feeling of pain, but also of joy,” Bishop Ma reflects.

More than 70 people responded to the bishop within hours of the blog being posted.

Some expressed their sorrow at Bishop Ma’s suffering during his 100 restricted days, but also expressed their hope that he may soon be back at work.

Others said that they like his humour and he collected a fair bit of advice on keeping centipedes at bay.

One praised him for being happy amid bitterness. Another said, “Bishop, I think your pain does not come just from centipede bites… May God bless you and may your predicament come to an end as soon as possible.”


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