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Sze-Ch'wan (North-western)

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Vicariate Apostolic of North-western Sze-Ch'wan

The mission of North-eastern Sze-ch'wan includes the territories known as Ch'wan-si and Ch'-wan-pe, the cities of Kiong-chu, Ya-y-hien, the principality of Mu-pin, and a part of the civil prefecture of Tsechu. There are 25,000,000 inhabitants, 23,000,000 are Chinese, and 1,500,000 are Barbarian Man-tse. On 17 August, 1658, the Holy See entrusted the mission of Sze-ch'wan to Bishop Pallu, of the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris, Vicar Apostolic on Tong-king. But neither Bishop Pallu nor his successor, Bishop de Lyonne (1699-1713), who was the first vicar Apostolic of Sze-ch'wan, could get into the province. In 1707, Fathers de la Balluère and Basset, of the Society of the Foreign Missions of Paris, and Fathers Mullener and Appiani, priests of the Congregation of St. Vincent de Paul, got into Sze-ch'wan where they found some Christians who had emigrated from other provinces. Father de la Balluère, elected vicar Apostolic in 1713, died in 1715 before being consecrated bishop. Father Mullener was consecrated titular Bishop of Myriopolis in 1717. Bishop Enjobert de Martillat succeeded him. He established the Institute of the Christian Virgins. The following four missionaries were elected as vicars Apostolic, but were not consecrated bishops : Fathers Lacerre, Maigrot (1752), de Raymond (1756), Kerhervé (1756). It is only from the year 1765 and the consecration of Bishop Pottier (1769-92) that really dates the existence of this mission. It numbered then about 4,000 Christians, including those of Yu-nan and Kwei-chu. Fathers Delpont and Devaux died in the jails of Pekin; Bishop de St-Martin (1784-1801), coadjutor and successor to Bishop Pottier, was banished with Father Dufresse. 40,000 pagans were christened. Bishop Dufresse (1801-15) succeeded Bishop Saint-Martin, with Bishop Frenchant as coadjutor (1802-1806). The synod of Sze-ch'wan took place and completed the organization of the mission. On 14 September, 1815, Blessed Gabriel Taurin-Dufresse, titular bishop of Tabraca, was sentenced to death and executed. He was beatified in 1900. At the death of the bishop, Sze-ch'wan had only two missionaries, and the Christians were everywhere persecuted. The awful persecution came to an end only in 1840, two years after the death of Bishop Fontana (1820-1838), whom Bishop Perocheau (1838-61) succeeded. in 1840, Yu-nan was separated from Sze-ch'wan; Kwei-chou was separated in 1846, South-eastern Sze-ch'wan in 1856, and Southern Sze-ch'wan in 1861. Bishop Pinchon, co-adjutor in 1858, succeeded Bishop Perocheau in 1861. In 1864 the seminary of Mu-pin was burned and many Christians killed. On 28 May, 1895, the buildings of the Protestants at Chen-chu were destroyed, and the following day the Catholic settlements has a similar fate. The mission of North-western Sze-ch'wan is entrusted to the Society of the Foreign Missions of Paris. The present vicar Apostolic is the Right Rev. Marie-Julien Dunand, consecrated in 1903 titular Bishop of Caloe. He resides at Chen-tu. In 1890 the mission numbered: 1 bishop, 27 missionaries, 39 native priests, 2 seminaries with 87 students, 413 schools, with 3023 pupils, 43 churches or chapels, 38,800 Catholics. In 1910 there were 1 bishop, 39 missionaries, 49 native priests, 3 seminaries with 110 seminarians, 340 schools, with 5322 pupils, 5 orphanages with 962 orphans, 105 churches or chapels, 45,000 Catholics.

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