In less than a week, three Chinese bishops were ordained with the approval of both Pope Francis and the Chinese government.
The ordination Mass for Bishop Peter Wu Yishun, 59, was celebrated Jan. 31 after Pope Francis named him head of the Apostolic Prefecture of Shaowu in the Chinese province of Fujian Dec. 16 "within the framework of the Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China," the Vatican announced Jan. 31.
The apostolic prefecture had been without a bishop since 1964.
The Vatican said Father Anthony Sun Wenjun, 53, was ordained to the episcopacy Jan. 29 in Weifang, about 320 miles south of Beijing, and Bishop Thaddeus Wang Yuesheng was ordained the bishop of Zhengzhou Jan. 25, also in accordance with the 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.
Announcing Bishop Wu Yishun's appointment and ordination, the Vatican provided few biographical details other than his birthdate, Dec. 7, 1964, and the date of his ordination, which was Aug. 15, 1992. It said he was ordained for the Diocese of Xiamen and then sent to the Minbei region of the Fujian province where he was pastor of the Nanping parish and responsible for both the Apostolic Prefecture of Shaowu and the Apostolic Prefecture of Jian'ou, which has not had a bishop since 1953.
Two days earlier, announcing Bishop Sun Wenjun's ordination, the Vatican said 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.
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.
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 Wang Yuesheng was born in Zhumadian in Henan province Feb. 27, 1966, and was ordained in Hankou in 1993. He served as parish priest in Zhengzhou and parish priest in the district of Huji, according to the Vatican.
His ordination was the first agreed on by both the Vatican and the Chinese government since 2022.
Two bishops from mainland China -- recommended by their peers in consultation with the Chinese government -- were appointed by Pope Francis as members of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which met in October, although they stayed only for the first two weeks of the meeting.