Bishop Joseph Chen Gong’ao was ordained on April 19 as the bishop of Nanchong in China’s Sichuan Province. The 47-year-old prelate was approved by Pope Benedict XVI and is recognized by the Chinese government. This is the second mutually approved ordination in recent months and has been widely interpreted as a positive development in Sino-Vatican relations. Bishop Chen said that his priority is to enhance the quality of priests, seminarians and nuns so that “the diocese’s evangelistic work would be developed in a more systematic manner.” Bishop Chen added that he would organize more training for laypeople, especially catechists, and hopes to build a new cathedral to replace the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, which was damaged by an earthquake in 2008 and is, he said, too small to accommodate large-scale activities.
New Bishop in China
From CNS, Staff and other sources