HONG KONG (UCAN) -- Catholics of Baoding diocese in the northern Hebei province have spent Holy Week praying for their bishop, vicar general and seven other priests who have been detained for years.
The whereabouts of Bishop James Su Zhimin (Zhemin), 74, and Vicar General Father Joseph Lu Genjun, 46, are unknown. They were detained in 1997 and 2006 respectively. Both have refused to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. The other Baoding priests were detained at different times and are being held without trial at Qingyuan county detention center, sources said.
Church sources have described Baoding as “a stronghold of the underground Catholics” and that the authorities want to reduce the influence of their priests.
Baoding Catholics have always prayed for the safety and return of their detained bishop and priests, and such prayers were more fervently offered during Holy Week, which started on Palm Sunday, April 5. A layperson named James said families are taking turns praying for this intention from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April 6 through Good Friday, April 10.
In Commie China, people don't have the basic liberty of practicing your religious faith, they don't have the liberty of not to collaborate with the regime either. The regime, which is currently a world bully, is totally inhuman as
sources said local Catholics could not get government approval to release Father Lu temporarily to see his father before he passed away on Dec. 25, 2008, or attend the funeral.
Father Lu, who has been praised as “a man of virtue and strength,” had been detained several times since 1998. Sources say the authorities may be worried he could be made a bishop.
Bishop Su has also not been seen since his arrest except once in November 2003, when he was hospitalized in Baoding city.
The other seven detained priests are: Father Pang Guangzhao, who was detained in 2003 on his way to visit Father Lu; diocesan administrator Father Huo Junlong and Father Ma Wuyong, both detained in 2004 while attending a retreat; and Fathers Jiang Yanli, Wang Quanjun, Wang Xiongwei and Liu Honggeng. The dates and circumstances surrounding the last three priests’ detentions are not clear.
On this Good Friday of 2009, let's remember the suffering Catholics in Commie China for their faith in Christ and let us pray that God's kingdom come to Commie China and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
I don't consider those who belonging to the so-called "Catholic Patriotic Association" real Catholics as many of them helping the regime persecute the ones who refuse to join. Just as I no longer consider Indiana's Notre Dame University a real catholic school any more. Catholics come in all varied kinds. They don't need necessarily attending catholic church on Sunday on my book, but they should never ever collaborate with the devil and tolerate baby-killers.
The map below shows the location of Hopei Province and Baoding is in the center of the Province. My ancestral place, where I have never been there, is a few miles southwest of Baoding, some half way between Baoding and the Province border.