Diocese of Suzhou

Bishop Xu

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Bishop Joseph Honggen Xu

Bishop's House, 190 Lianxiangqiao, Sanxing Road, China [215004]


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Bishop Joseph Xu Honggen was born into a Catholic family in 1962, Bishop Xu entered Sheshan seminary in 1984. After he was ordained a priest in 1990, he served at that seminary and Suzhou's Jiangsu Minor Seminary. He also served as the cathedral parish priest in Suzhou.

In 1994, he began studies in Chicago and New York, the United States. After obtaining a master's degree in theology and another in biblical studies, he returned to Suzhou in 1999. The diocese was without a bishop since his predecessor, Bishop Matthias Ma Longlin, died that year at age 81.

Bishop Xu's ordination on April 20, 2006, took place six years after the priests, nuns and lay representatives of his diocese in Jiangsu province, eastern China, chose him to be their bishop in December 1999. The Chinese government only recently approved his ordination.

Reviewing his past six years as diocesan administrator, then 45-year-old Bishop Xu told UCA News on the day of his episcopal ordination, "I thank God for giving me this chance to try me, to allow me to better understand the challenges my diocese faces and how to run it better."

Bishop Joseph Xu Honggen of Suzhou is approved by the Holy See as well as the Chinese government.

Previous Ordinaries:

  • Bishop Ma Longlin (July 24, 1981 - June 9, 1999)
  • Bishop Shen Chuming (1956 - 1968)
  • Vatican-Appointed: Bishop Ignatius Gong (Kung) Pinmei (June 9, 1949 - July 15, 1950)