Beijing (AsiaNews) No more tickets to pay for Christmas mass. People who wish to attend midnight mass at the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady Cathedral (Nantang, South Church) won't have to make the minimum 50 yuans (US$ 6) offering requested last Sunday. Entry tickets will be free.
AsiaNews had reported the news which was eventually picked up by other Catholic Websites around the world.
Many parishioners complained with the Fr Ren Lijun, their parish priest, that 50 yuans would have probably kept away many elderly poor as well as young non Christian students interested in the Christmas rituals.
Fr Ren said that tickets were free but wanted to make parishioners aware of the financial needs of the parish church. Administrative changes in the diocese have in fact meant fewer government funds for the church.
Fr Feng Guoxin, chancellor for the Diocese of Beijing, told UCAN news agency that the parish priest is new, having been appointed just a few months ago. Fr Feng said that the new priest caused 'confusion' by mixing up the church's need for financial support and the need to have a ticket to attend Midnight Mass.
"As soon as we realised what was going on we put a stop to what he was doing and he is very sorry for what happened," Father Feng said.
Some Beijing Catholics thanked AsiaNews. "Because of you," they said, "we are free to attend mass without having to pay."