Recently, a dedicated and committed servant of God and of the Holy Roman Church returned to His Lord and Master whom he had faithfully served as a priest and bishop for more than 80 years. The local Church in
Mgr Joseph Meng Ziwen, Catholic Bishop of Nanning (Guangxi)
Apparently, Bishop Joseph Meng was trained in the College General Major Seminary here in Penang and studied Theology here for 6 years before going back to
I’m sure the good bishop would have been horrified to discover that the hallowed halls of the seminary in which he and numerous other saints and martyrs walked and were formed to take up his role as an alter Christus is now a huge shopping mall, the seminary having been transferred to the former retreat house of Mariophile due to dwindling vocations and other major seminaries sprouting up in the region.
Anyway, pls join me in praying for the soul of Bishop Joseph Meng, that the Lord may reward his faithful servant and welcome him into paradise.From Asianews.it via Zenit:
Underground bishop, a “humble but extraordinary pastor”, dies at 103
Mgr Meng, underground bishop of Nanning, was the country’s oldest prelate. For Fr Giancarlo Politi, missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions and a China expert, the prelate led a life till the end with “out of the ordinary vitality” despite spending 25 years in a laogai camp. Bishop appointments are increasingly becoming a problem with little “chance of solving the issue in the near future.”
Rome (AsiaNews) – He was a “humble but extraordinary pastor who was dedicated to his community and had out of the ordinary energy and vitality,” said Fr Giancarlo Politi, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions and a China expert, as he remembered Mgr Joseph Meng Ziwen, bishop of Nanning (Guangxi), who passed away last Sunday at the age of 103 as a result of a liver tumour. He was the oldest prelate in the whole of
Father Politi told AsiaNews that the bishop “was someone who up to three years ago still said mass every Sunday in three different parishes without sparing himself.” His coadjutor, Mgr John Baptist Tan Yanchuan, will celebrate the funeral tomorrow.
Born into a non-Catholic family on March 19,
1903, inHengling, Bishop Meng was baptised as a youth. When he was 18 years old he spent eight years at a minor seminary. After studying six years of theology and philosophy at the major seminary in Penang, Malaysia, he was ordained into the priesthood in in 1935. Nanning
After the Communist revolution he was accused of collaborating with the Kuomintang and sent to a laogai (reform through labour) camp in the early fifties and released in 1957.
Upon his release that year, he resumed work at a church in
, where, thanks to his medical training, he set up and ran a clinic, but was re-arrested the following year charged with helping the enemies of the Revolution. He was eventually released in 1970. Nanning
In the 1980s, Bishop Meng was able to reclaim some Church property and rebuild churches. He recruited young Catholics as nuns and seminarians to help in evangelisation work. “Bringing Christ to the world” remained his lifelong goal.
He was ordained bishop by the Holy See in 1984, but the Communist regime refused to accept his appointment. To avoid problems for his community he always signed diocesan papers as a simple priest. For his parishioners, he was affectionately known as lao shenfu, the old priest.
Father Politi remembers that the prelate “always led humble life. Although he could not call himself bishop he was always relatively free to move around Guangxi to visit small Christian communities and lived quietly. Here, there never were any of the open clashes with the Church as elsewhere in
”. The recent arrests on December 27 of nine priests in China Baoding, in the central province if , are an example of this open conflict. Hebei
Bishop Meng’s death follows the passing of four official bishops, all in the last month. Whether official or not, prelates are getting older and the tense situation between the Patriotic Association (which seeks to control appointments) and the Vatican have made new nominations a thorny issue for the whole Church in China.
Father Politi is quite pessimistic about the future. “I can’t see any chance of solving the issue in the near future. The Communist Party only wants to maintain its power and thus must maintain the status quo”.
Yet, even though Sino-Vatican relations, “the life of the Church in the country is growing despite everything,” he said.
Do pray for the Church in China.
For Bishop Joseph Meng
|Réquiem æternam dona ei, |
|Eternal rest grant unto him (her), O Lord.|
|Et lux perpétua lúceat ei.||And let perpetual light shune upon him.|
|Requiéscat in pace.||May he rest in peace.|
|Anima ejus, et ánimæ ómnium fidélium defunctórum, per misericórdiam Dei requiéscant in pace.||May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.|
O Lord, give us many more good and faithful priests in your servant, Bishop Joseph Meng.