Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - More than 800 Catholics in Hong Kong packed St. Margaret's Catholic Church last night to pray for the early release of heroic Auxiliary Bishop Ma Daqin of Shanghai, who is under restriction after he openly left the Patriotic Association at his Episcopal ordination on 7 July.
Card Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, presided over the Mass, and Fr Dominic Chan, vicar general, and other priests concelebrated.
In his homily, Cardinal Zen accused China's atheist and Communist regime of interference in Church activities, calling it unwarranted.
He also criticised some Church officials on the mainland for yielding to profits and rewards, thus becoming slaves of evil.
The prelate led the assembled faithful in prayer for the early release of Bishop Ma Daqin and the restoration of his Episcopal ministry. The congregation also prayed for the release of other jailed members of the clergy.
Before the Mass, about 200 Catholics recited the rosary outside the China Liaison Office, Beijing's de facto office in Hong Kong, calling on the mainland to release of Bishop Ma and other jailed and missing clergy, including Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang of Yixian (Hebei) and Vicar General Fr Lu Genjun of Baoding (Hebei).
Regarding unlawful ordinations, the Diocese's Justice and Peace Commission also prayed for the two priests who are now forced to stay away from their Church because they refused to take part in the unlawful ordination in Harbin (Heilongjiang).
Catholics prayed for the communion and solidarity of the Church, as well as for Chinese authorities, that they may respect freedom of religion in China and allow the Catholic Church to operate normally and freely in the country.
Their hope is that Beijing and the Vatican will start a genuine dialogue, with openness and sincerity.
(Photo: John Chung)