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Sze-Ch'wan (Eastern)

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Vicariate Apostolic of Eastern Sze-Ch'wan

The mission of Eastern Sze-ch'wan was separated from North-western Sze-ch'wan and erected in a Vicariate Apostolic in 1856. Its first name was South-eastern Sze-ch'wan. There were nine European and ten native priests. The Right Rev. Mgr Desflèces (1844-87), titular bishop of Sinita, was elected first vicar Apostolic. Missionaries and Christians had at first to undergo many persecutions. At last after the Franco-Chinese War in 1860, they obtained entire freedom to preach the Christian doctrine. In 1860 the mission was divided into two vicariates Apostolic : Eastern and Southern Sze-ch'wan. The missionaries got from Chinese officials a piece of ground in the city of Ch'ung-k'ing, as compensation for the losses undergone by the mission. New persecutions broke out. At Yu-yang Father Eyraud was put in jail, Fathers Mabileau and Rigaud were murdered. At Kien-Kiang Fathers Hue and Tay were killed in 1873. On 8 March, 1876, the settlements of the Christians were pillaged at Kiang-pe. Father Coupat was elected co-adjutor in 1882, and in 1888 succeeded Bishop Desflèces, appointed Archbishop of Mandianopolis. In 1886 the buildings of the mission at Ch'ung-k'ing were pillaged and destroyed. The bishop and missionaries had to retire into the Chinese tribunal. In 1891 the Right Rev. Mgr Chouvellon, titular Bishop of Dansars, succeeded Bishop Coupat. In 1898 Fr. Fleury was captured by Yu-man-tse and kept as prisoner for several moths. The mission is confided to the Society of the Foreign Missions of Paris. The present vicar Apostolic is the Right Rev. Celestin-Felix-Joseph Chouvellon, consecrated Bishop of Dansara in 1891. He resides at Ch'ung-k'ing. In 1889 the mission numbered: 1 bishop, 32 missionaries, 33 native priests, 2 seminaries with 74 students, 151 schools, with 1963 pupils, 105 churches or chapels, 31,359 Catholics. In 1910 there were 1 bishop, 51 missionaries, 46 native priests, 3 seminaries with 130 students, 341 schools, with 5365 pupils, 175 churches or chapels, 3 orphanages with 327 orphans, 40,587 Catholics.

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