Farewell to two faithful elderly bishops

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Recognised by both the Vatican and the Chinese government China’s oldest Catholic bishop, Bishop John Baptist Liu Jingshan of Yinchuan (Ningxia), has died at the age of 100.

He passed away early February at the cathedral in Yinchuan city, capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northern China, where he spent much of his life after his retirement in 2009. His health had been declining in recent months, the diocese said.

The elderly prelate has been credited with restoring the Church community in Ningxia since arriving there in 1983, after suffering 30 years of imprisonment in a labor camp.

Father Joseph Zhang Jianding, who knew Bishop Liu for 20 years, described him as kind and amiable, yet he set down strict demands on his priests and seminarians.

‘He never tolerated any fault in my priestly life and work. He often criticized and corrected me harshly, sometimes even lost his temper. But he forgave me afterwards as if nothing had happened.’

Bishop Liu was born in 1913 in Bameng diocese, Inner Mongolia. He entered the minor seminary in 1929 and studied in two major seminaries from 1935 to 1942, while Japanese troops were occupying China.

Upon becoming a priest in 1942, he served in a parish and then a minor seminary. In 1951, he was jailed and sentenced to a labour camp. In 1970, he was released and sent home to work as a farmer.

He began teaching in a school and resumed pastoral work to restore the Church in 1979 after the Cultural Revolution ended and the government allowed religious activities to commence again.

Four years later, the then 70-year-old priest was invited to Ningxia to direct Church affairs. At that time there were only two Catholic priests in the vast region where most people are Muslims. He traveled by bicycle to administer holy sacraments and pay home visits to people who had lost their faith.

In 1993, the government-sanctioned ‘open’ Church authority restructured Ningxia diocese according to its own administrative boundaries and the then Fr Liu was ordained a bishop at the age of 80…

And in related news, Wikipedia reports:

Douglas Joseph Warren (21 March 1919 – 6 February 2013) was an Australian bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. At the time of his death he was, at the age of 93, the oldest Australian Roman Catholic bishop.

Warren was born in Canowindra, New South Wales, Australia and ordained a priest on 20 December 1942 in the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of the same diocese, as well as titular bishop of Aquae Novae in Numidia, on 16 June 1964 and ordained a bishop by Cardinal Sir Norman Thomas Gilroy on 27 July 1964 and co-consecrators Bishop Bryan Gallagher of Port Pirie and Bishop Bernard Stewart of Sandhurst. On 26 September 1967 he was appointed the diocesan bishop and remained in position until his retirement on 30 March 1994.

Full story on Bp John Baptist Liu Jingshan here:  http://www.ucanews.com/news/oldest-bishop-dies-at-100/67341

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