06/16/2010, 00.00
VATICAN – CHINA
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Chinese priest gives Pope gifts from Sheshan and Shanghai

Fr Matteo Chu gives Benedict XVI a painting and a bas-relief on behalf of the Church of Shanghai. The clergyman, who lives in Taipei and has close ties to the mainland Church, told the Pontiff about the wish of local Christians to see the start of the process of beatification of Matteo Ricci and Paul Xu Guangqi.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI received two gifts from Shanghai on behalf of the diocese’s bishops and faithful. He received them from the hands of a Chinese priest at the end of today’s general audience in Saint Peter’s Square. They were a painting on canvas with the portrait of Our Lady of Sheshan, in the background the prayer to the Virgin written by Pope in his Letter to Chinese Catholics, and a bas-relief also of Our Lady of Sheshan on ancient wood taken from the hill where the national shrine is located.

Fr Matteo Chu, who gave the gifts to the Holy Father, was born in the mainland. He is a Jesuit priest who spent 27 years in forced labour. After his release, he went to the United States with Card Gong Pinmei, then to Taipei, Taiwan.

During the audience with the Pope, he was accompanied by another Chinese priest, Fr Gu Guangzhong.

Father Matteo has close ties to the Church of Shanghai, which sent the two gifts for the Pontiff. He is in Rome on a pilgrimage to mark the end of the Year for Priests (see his article, “From Shanghai to Rome, the joy of being a priest in the Year for Priests”, in AsiaNews, 15 June 2010)

He told AsiaNews that he asked the Pope for a special blessing for the Church in China; he also told the Holy Father about the wish of the Church of Shanghai to start the process of beatification of Matteo Ricci and his scientist friend, mandarin Paul Xu Guangqi.

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