Ankang (Agenzia Fides) - On August 28, 2022, after a long illness, His Excellency Monsignor Jean-Baptiste Ye Ronghua, Prefect Apostolic Bishop of Ankang, in the province of Shaanxi, in mainland China, died at the age of 91.
The prelate was born on June 21, 1931 into a family of Catholic tradition, in the district of Nanzheng, near Hanzhong. In 1945, he entered the diocesan minor seminary, then moved on to the regional major seminary of Kaifeng. Having completed his studies in theology, he could not be ordained a priest due to the unfavorable political situation and was later denounced and then sentenced to forced labor in 1966.
Ordained a priest on December 10, 1981, he exercised his pastoral ministry first in the dioceses of Hanzhong and Zhouzhi, and finally in the Apostolic Prefecture of Ankang, where he was consecrated bishop on December 10, 2000, also well accepted by the local government. Despite the poverty of the region and the financial problems of the prefecture, Monsignor Ye did his best to rebuild and revive the Catholic community.
As his health conditions became increasingly precarious, in 2016, His Excellency Monsignor John Baptist Wang Xiaoxun, who now succeeds him, was consecrated coadjutor bishop.
Currently, the Apostolic Prefecture of Ankang has about 7,000 faithful, distributed in 3 parishes, with 11 priests and 5 nuns. (Agenzia Fides, 27/9/2022)