Diocese of Fengxiang
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In a land area of 16,540 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the area of Baoji city and six counties in western Shaanxi province, central China. Fengxiang with its prominent cathedral is the bishop's see and a county of Baoji. The whole area has a population of 2,980,600 as of 2007.

Population

People in Shaanxi province mainly include ethnic groups of Han, Hui, Mongolian and Manchu.

Language

Mandarin and local dialect

History

What is now the Diocese of Fengxiang was established as Apostolic Prefecture of Fengxiangfu from the Apostolic Vicariate of Xi'anfu on November 15, 1932. On June 9, 1942 it was promoted as Apostolic Vicariate of Fengxiangfu. The Church developed vigorously since it became Diocese of Fengxiang in 1946, when the Vatican established the Church hierarchy in China.

According to the Pontifical Yearbook, the diocese had in 1950 a number of 8,504 Catholics representing 0.85 percent of the population of 1,000 000. There was a total of 66 priests (58 diocesan, 8 religious) and 8 female Religious serving 16 parishes.

Since then, the local Church has suffered greatly from political turmoil until the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976. Bishop Anthony Zhou and his priests were arrested and imprisoned because of faith, while all churches were demolished and church properties were robbed.

Religious activities were gradually revived since 1980. Only six elderly priests survived the hardships and they returned to serve the diocese. Bishop Luke Li succeeded Bishop Zhou, who died in 1983, and made his efforts to recruit seminarians, build new churches and develop pastoral work. He has ordained more than 40 priests, who now serve 20,000 Catholics in the diocese.

Transportation

Most trains from Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an pass through Baoji on their way to Gansu, Sichuan, Xinjiang and Tibet (Lhasa).

Climate

The area has a continental monsoonal climate with distinctive seasons. It has cold winters but mild summers, with a mean annual temperature of 6 degrees Celsius to 14 degrees Celsius. The greater part of Shaanxi province has a mean annual precipitation of 400-650 mm, increasing gradually from northwest to southeast.

Economy

Agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery are widely done by the people. There are factories for machinery, chemicals, cement and food processing. Mining and processing of mineral resources like limestone, fire-resistant stone and calcite are also to be found in the diocesan territory.

Topography

Fengxiang diocese neighbors Hanzhong diocese to the north, Zhouzhi diocese to the west, Sanyuan diocese to the southwest. All dioceses locate in Shaanxi. Its eastern edge borders on Pingliang and Tianshui dioceses in Gansu province.

Shaanxi province is bounded by the North China Plain in the east and the middle Yellow River in the west. Mountains cover 67.5 percent of Shanxi Province, and its highlands, hills and basins stand at about 1,000 meters or more above sea level, sloping from northeast to southwest.

Culture

The craft of making painted clay-figurines of Fengxiang has a recorded history of more than 3,000 years.

Passing through Baoji is the ancient North Silk Road, the northernmost route of about 2,600 kilometres in length, which connected the ancient Chinese capital of Xian to the West over the Wushao Ling Pass to Wuwei and emerging in Kashgar before linking to ancient Parthia.

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