ASIA/CHINA – Death of Bishop Stephen Yang Xiangtai
Monday, 22 November 2021
Rome (Agenzia Fides) – On the night of October 13, 2021, His Exc. Mgr. Stephen Yang Xiangtai, Bishop of Handan/Yongnian (Hebei) died at the age of 99. He was born on January 3, 1923 into a devout Catholic family in Gaocun, Wu’an County (present-day Hebei), he was baptized as a child. In 1935 he entered the Weihui Minor Seminary and in 1940 he went to Kaifeng Major Seminary. He was ordained a priest on August 27, 1949.
Because of his faith and his loyalty to the Pope, he was arrested in 1966 and, after a period of imprisonment, he was forced into forced labor for 15 years. Following Deng Xiaoping’s opening, he was rehabilitated in 1980 and, once his innocence was declared, he was released. He then exercised his pastoral ministry in the counties of Handan, Cixian, Shexian, and Wu’an. In 1988 he was appointed spiritual director of the diocesan seminary and of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit Comforter, and finally Vicar General.
On November 30, 1996 he was consecrated Coadjutor Bishop of Handan. In 1998 he was appointed rector of the diocesan seminary. On September 17, 1999, he succeeded His Exc. Mgr. Chen Bolu, who had resigned as diocesan bishop.
His Exc. Mgr. Stephen Yang Xiangtai was a much loved Bishop by the faithful, who remember him for his strong fidelity to the Lord, his kindness towards everyone, his simplicity of life and constant dedication to his flock.
His funeral was held in Caozhuang on October 19, 2021, presided over by his successor, His Exc. Mgr. Sun Jigen, in the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, where the body was exposed to the veneration and prayers of the faithful who wanted to pay their last respects. (Agenzia Fides, 22/11/2021)