.- During a recent visit to the headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need, the director of the Catholic Social Center of the Diocese of Xi’an in Shaanxi, China, Father Stephen Chen, said that his diocese has experienced enormous growth during the last few years, but that it is still in need of prayer and material assistance.
Father Chen explained that in the central province of Shaanxi there are eight dioceses with more than “280,000 Catholics, 260 priests who assist the faithful, and 600 religious dedicated to teaching and to helping the poor, the infirm and the elderly.”
In addition to this growth, Father Chen continued, during the “last 20 years 400 churches have been built in the province, but we need more, above all in the small towns. Unfortunately many are in bad shape and need to be restored or rebuilt.”
Another important aspect of the growth of the diocese is the pastoral attention given to young people and the increase in vocations at the region’s two seminaries, where there are vocations both “to the priesthood and to women’s religious communities.”
Father Chen thanked Aid to the Church Need for helping the Church in Shaanxi and he asked for continued prayers and support.