The Church of Christ has been persecuted from the very beginning of its existence until to our present times. Please pray for our pastors and all workers in His vineyard for courage and strength-- their seed of martyrdom is a living testament that WE BELONG to the REAL CHURCH of CHRIST-- the CATHOLIC CHURCH.
Article from Catholic-sf.org
Shanghai ’s Vatican-approved bishop, Joseph Fan Zhong Liang, SJ, died at age 96 on March 16 – a Jesuit and convert to Catholicism who resisted Communism and affirmed his Catholic faith during more than 20 years of prison and labor camp, followed by decades of surveillance, arrests and harassment.
“He was never free,” said St. Cecilia parishioner Mary Bernadette Chien, who knew Bishop Fan from before 1955. Both were among the thousands arrested on Sept. 8, 1955, by the Communists in a sweep that netted thousands of lay Catholics, priests, seminarians and nuns. “He was loyal to Christ, his church, to the end,” Chien said.
Bishop Fan refused to affiliate with the government controlled Catholic church, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
“Fan’s passing marks the end of the generation of Chinese bishops in Shanghai who lived through China’s transition to a Communist country,” Anthony E. Clark, author of “China’s Saints: Catholic Martyrdom During the Qing, 1644-1911,” and an assistant professor of Chinese history at Whitworth University, wrote on IgnatiusInsight.com.
Asia News reported that70 priests, of both the open and the underground Catholic Church, concelebrated the funeral Mass at a funeral parlor, and about 5,000 Catholics attended the Mass. The priests wore red stoles for martyrdom, priests told Asia News. Bishop Fan could not be buried in the cathedral, Asia News reported because the government never acknowledged him as bishop but friends bought a plot in a cemetery where his cremated remains were to be buried.
Longtime San Franciscan Chien herself was imprisoned for her Catholic faith in 1955, spending a year and nine months in prison in Shanghai before being allowed to leave for Hong Kong and eventually the United States, she said, calling imprisonment a time of “great joy” because she knew she was suffering for her faith.
Bishop Fan, born Jan. 13, 1918, converted to Catholicism in 1932. He was ordained a priest in 1951. Released in 1978 after 23 years in prison and labor camp, Bishop Fan was consecrated a bishop in 1985.
“He was never free,” Chien said, recounting that Bishop Fan was arrested many times, always under government surveillance, his house searched, and money given to him for support of the underground Catholic Church confiscated. When he died, Chien said, Bishop Fan had been “a prisoner for Christ the past 60 years.