ASIA/CHINA - New church dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua has been consecrated, and is the result of the commitment of the entire community

Wednesday, 19 June 2024 local churches   laity  

Xilin Gol League (Agenzia Fides) - Today "we have inaugurated a place of worship, but we must also build a spiritual temple in our hearts," said the Archbishop of Hohhot, Paul Meng Qinglu, in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, in his address to all those present at the inauguration of a new church in the Xilin Gol League, dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua. More than 400 faithful took part in the solemn Eucharist on the feast of the Saint, concelebrated by about 20 priests and attended by 17 nuns. Bishop Meng blessed the new altar, the monstrance, the ambo and the chalice. In his homily, the Bishop invited everyone to give thanks for the gift of Baptism, which has made "our hearts a temple of God, a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit".
The Parish priest Peter Ren Zhongxun emphasized: "The church is small but welcoming and blessed. The Lord Jesus is here, the Holy Spirit is here. Thanks to the generosity and help of everyone - every brother and sister, the bishop, every priest and every nun - we were able to achieve this result: a place of worship in the steppe of the Xilin Gol League."
The old church was classified as an unsafe building in 2023. Since then, Father Peter Ren and the parishioners have been working to raise the funds to buy a building and convert it into a church. The new place of worship has an area of over 300 square meters. And the parish has grown through this experience in community and mutual charity. The Xilin Gol League belonged to the mission of the Scheut Missionaries (Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, CICM). Just recently, from June 10, the Archbishop Emeritus of Malines-Brussels and President of the Ferdinand Verbiest Foundation of Leuven, Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, visited Inner Mongolia together with Father Charles Phukuta, Superior General of the Scheut Missionaries, and other missionaries, including 92-year-old Jeroom Heyndrickx (see Fides, 12/6/2024).
Currently the Xilin Gol community numbers about 40,000 Catholics. Recently, the number of baptized has increased significantly, also thanks to the missionary commitment of the local community. For lay people, training courses are often offered on topics such as liturgy, Sacred Scripture, the evangelizing mission of the sisters and the universal priesthood of all the baptized, particularly emphasized by the Second Vatican Council. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 19/6/2024)