A group of experts, politicians and academics launch a week of prayer for the persecuted in China: Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hong Kong activists, prisoners of conscience. This follows Card Charles Maung Bo’s call for a Week of Prayer for the Church in China, like the Day of Prayer established by Benedict XVI in 2007, on the feast day of Our Lady of Sheshan.
London (AsiaNews) – A group of Christian lay people from six continents started a Global Prayer for China campaign, calling on the faithful to pray from 23 to 30 May 2021 for the Church and peoples of China, including Xinjiang’s persecuted Uyghurs, prisoners of conscience, Protestant clergymen, activists and jailed prominent Hong Kongers.
The coalition members include US Congressman Chris Smith, British Lord David Alton, Canadian MP Garnett Genuis, Australian MP Kevin Andrews, Law Professor Jane Adolphe, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Nina Shea, CSW’s expert Benedict Rogers; Canada’s former religious freedom envoy Andrew Bennett is the spokesman.
The campaign provides information about political and religious prisoners, the situation of religious freedom in China, as well as means for homilies and vigils to be held during the last week of May.
The campaign is inspired by a message from Card Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon (Myanmar) and President of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), who last March launched the idea of holding a Global Week of Prayer for the Church and the Peoples of China.
Pope Benedict XVI established a World Day of Prayer for the China in 2007, to be celebrated on 24 May each year, the feast day of Our Lady of Sheshan, Mary Help of Christians, who is venerated at the Marian shrine of Sheshan, near Shanghai.
In order to explain the reasons for this week of prayer, Card. Bo said: “I am expressing my love for the peoples of China, my respect for their ancient civilization and extraordinary economic growth, and my hopes that as it continues to rise as a global power, it may become a force for good and a protector of the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized in the world.”
At the same time, “I urge the faithful, [. . .] to join with Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and the whole Church to ask, in the words of Benedict XVI, the ‘Mother of China and all Asia’ to support the faithful, that ‘they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus”, and ‘always be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.’”