VATICAN CITY (CNS) — For the second time in less than a week, a Chinese bishop was ordained with the approval of both Pope Francis and the Chinese government.
The Vatican said Father Anthony Sun Wenjun, 53, was ordained to the episcopacy Jan. 29 in Weifang, about 320 miles south of Beijing.
On the day of his ordination, the Vatican announced that the pope had erected the Diocese of Weifang April 20, designating the Church of Christ the King in the Qingzhou district of the city to be the new cathedral. April 20 also was the date that Pope Francis nominated Bishop Sun Wenjun “in the framework of the provisional accord between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China,” the Vatican announcement said.
On Jan. 25 Bishop Thaddeus Wang Yuesheng was ordained the bishop of Zhengzhou, also in accordance with the Vatican-China agreement, which was originally signed in 2018 and has been renewed every two years since. The text of the agreement has not been published, but Vatican officials have said it outlines procedures for ensuring Catholic bishops are elected by the Catholic community in China and approved by the pope before their ordinations and installations.
The Vatican said Father Anthony Sun Wenjun was ordained to the episcopacy Jan. 29 in Weifang.
Bishop Sun Wenjun attended the Sheshan Seminary in Shanghai from 1989 to 1994 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1995 in Beijing, the Vatican said. Without providing a full list of his assignments, the Vatican said he carried out pastoral ministry in Shandong from 2005 to 2007 and from 2007 to 2008 he “continued his formation” in Ireland. Returning to China, he has been ministering in Weifang.
Bishop John Fang Xingyao of Linyi, past president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, presided over the ordination, according to Fides, the news agency of the Pontifical Mission Societies, which is part of the Dicastery for Evangelization. Four other bishops participated along with 44 priests and 330 women religious and laypeople, Fides said.
Establishing the Diocese of Weifang, the Vatican said, the pope suppressed the former Apostolic Prefecture of Yiduxian. The last bishop of the prefecture, who was recognized by the government but not by the pope, died in 2008.