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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 24.09.2002]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press, for the exclusive use of accredited journalists.


WU CHENG-CHUNG Card. John Baptist




Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung, Bishop of Hong Kong , was born on 26 March 1925 in Shui-tsai, diocese of Kaying, Southern China. After having done his primary studies, he studied theology and philosophy at the Academy of Theology in Southern China.

He was ordained a priest on 6 July 1952 in Hong Kong.

Having earned a doctorate in canon law in Rome and after having carried out his pastoral ministry in Hong Kong, he went to the United States – New York, Boston, Chicago - to gain practical legal experience.

In 1957 he was sent to Taiwan and was assistant pastor of the diocese of Hsinchu in Tou Fen and Ta Hu. He also was chaplain of the ‘Legio Mariae’ (1957-1959). He then became parish priest of Hsin Miaoli. Being of an open spirit and comprehensive, showing solidarity and friendship to all, he knew how to create a true spirit of family. He was elected two consecutive times as member of the presbyteral council, and was member of the liturgical commission. During 1971-1972, he was moderator of the diocesan synod in Hsinchu.

On 5 April 1975 he was elected Bishop of Hong Kong and was ordained on 25 July of the same year.

In 1985 he lead a delegation to Beijing and Shanghai following an invitation by the Chinese government. The first visit to China made by the Bishop of Hong Kong since 1949.

The following year, in 1986, he went to his native city Guangdung where, after 40 years of having been separated, he was able to visit his elderly mother and other relatives.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of 28 June 1988. Titular church, Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (a Mostacciano).

On 1 July 1997 Hong Kong returned under the sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China. John Paul II in a letter to the Bishop of Hong Kong dated 24 June 1997 stated: "This service of evangelization and practical solidarity must not cease, and indeed it will surely increase now that the Diocese of Hong Kong is called, even more than before, to be in the midst of the Chinese nation the ‘city set on a hill’ and ‘the lamp on a stand’ (cf. Mt 5:14-15). In the new historical circumstances, the Catholic community's mission will be to accompany all on the path towards further gains in social advancement, peace and solidarity".

Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung died on 23 September 2002.


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