» 05/18/2011, 00.00
CHINA - VATICAN
Day of Prayer for the Church in China forbidden to Shanghai Catholics
Like every year, Chinese Catholics are hindered in their pilgrimage to Sheshan. The World Day was decided by Pope Benedict XVI to strengthen unity between underground and official Catholics and unity with the Successor of Peter. In Italy, the Day will be celebrated in Rimini on 21 and 22 May.
Rome (AsiaNews) - Public security officers have banned the underground Catholic community in Shanghai from visiting the shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan, on the occasion of World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, on 24 May. Some communities, however, have decided to challenge the police order and will go on pilgrimage to Sheshan the previous weekend, May 21.
"The atmosphere is very tense - a priest told AsiaNews - and we should remain calm. At the same time we want to obey the instructions of the pope. "
In fact Benedict XVI himself established May 24, the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, as the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. In his Letter to Chinese Catholics in 2007, he expressed the intention that through prayer we may strengthen the unity between underground and official Christians and their communion with the Successor of Peter, also asking the Lord for the strength to persevere Christian witness, even in the midst of suffering of persecution.
Catholics in China are still suffering from shock after the regimes’ ordination of bishops without papal permission and its violence in deporting bishops and priests to force them to participate in an Assembly in Beijing against the wishes of the pope, to elect the leaders of the Bishops Council and Patriotic Association. These gestures are trying to divide even more the already beleaguered community of official and underground Catholics. Perhaps to stop this unity in prayer, since 2008, the first year of the day, authorities have consistently tried to prevent pilgrims from the diocese and further afield from going on pilgrimage to Sheshan, inviting priests from various dioceses to go on "government paid holidays”, and allowing only a few thousand faithful from Shanghai to advance up the slopes of the sanctuary.
From the end of the 800, the shrine of Sheshan, about 40 km southwest of Shanghai, is a place of pilgrimage from all over the country. In May, admittance reaches 20 thousand people.
In Italy, for the occasion of World Day of Prayer, the Chinese Catholic communities are organizing a rally of two days on 21 and 22 May in Rimini. The meetings, which are open not only to the faithful from China, include the presence of Mgr. Savio Hon Taifai, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Mgr. Francesco Lambiasi, Bishop of Rimini, Mgr. Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. and hundreds of priests. For information and registration, see www.centroitaliacina.it ).
28/05/2008 CHINA - VATICAN
In Sheshan, World Day of Prayer for the Church in China
Official and underground Catholics have taken part in the pilgrimage, despite the obstacles posed by the local government. A day to remember. "We renewed our communion with the universal Church and with the Holy Father". An exceptional account, with all the photos of the pilgrimage.
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Our Lady of Sheshan, persecution and division
Chinese Catholics at home and around the world prayed for the Church in China, according to the intention laid out by Benedict XVI in his letter of June 2007. The shrine is a place of encounter between underground and official Christians, the government continues to prohibit pilgrimages. Unity in truth for the Church in China and in relations between Beijing and the Vatican.
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At Sheshan and throughout China we pray for unity and priestly vocations
The World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, decreed by Benedict XVI, official and underground Catholics pray for greater unity between communities and for a solution to the relationship between China and Vatican soon. Moreover they pray for strength for the young, bishops and faithful to evangelize the continent, which is increasingly thirsty for God
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