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(V ICARIATE A POSTOLIC ).
In 1640 the Christian religion was preached for the first time in the Province of Shen-si. It was, by turns, looked upon with favor and disfavor by the emperors of China. The Province of Shen-si belonged to the Vicariate Apostolic of Shan-si until 1841. By a Decree of 3 February, 1841, it was erected as a separate vicariate Apostolic. It kept the Province of Kan-su and Ku-Ku-Nor until 1878. In 1887, by a Decree of 6 July, the province was divided in two vicariates Apostolic , Northern and Southern Shen-si. The Vicariate Apostolic of Northern Shen-si includes the five Prefectures of Si-ngan, Feng-tsiang, Tung-chu, Yen-ngan and Ye-lin. The climate is healthful but very cold in winter. There are about 7,000,000 inhabitants.
The mission is entrusted to the Franciscan Fathers. The present vicar Apostolic is the Rt. Rev. Maurice Gabriel, consecrated in 1908. He resides at Si-ngan. In 1903 the missions numbered: 10 European Franciscan Fathers; 21 native priests ; 23,600 Catholics ; 2,500 catechumens ; 160 churches and chapels. In 1910 there were: 18 European Franciscan Fathers; 28 native priests ; 25,116 Catholics ; 4,627 catechumens ; 203 churches and chapels. On May, 1911, the Vicariate Apostolic of Northern Shen-si was divided in two missions, Northern and Central Shen-si.
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