A grand ceremony was held in a downtown Beijing Catholic church Friday morning to consecrate Li Shan, vice-chairman of the Beijing Church Affairs Committee, as new bishop of the Beijing diocese.
Li Shan, was elected bishop by priests and nuns of the Beijing diocese and representatives of Church followers on July 16, after his predecessor Michael Fu Tieshan passed away on April 20, 2007.
Li Shan, born in 1965, is also deputy to the Beijing Municipal People's Congress. His predecessor Fu, elected bishop of the Beijing diocese in 1979, was the first bishop consecrated by the Chinese Catholic Church after the government initiated its reform and opening up policy. The consecration, held at the 400-year-old Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Beijing, was chaired by the Bishop Fang Xingyao of Linyi diocese and assisted by bishops of major dioceses in China.
Representatives from the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and Bishops' Conference of the Chinese Catholic Church, as well as more than 70 priests and 1000 fellows attended the ceremony.
China has 5 million Catholics under 97 dioceses.
(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2007)