04/07/2005, 00.00
CHINA – VATICAN
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Prayer for John Paul II at the national seminary in Beijing

Beijing (AsiaNews) – At Beijing's national seminary a memorial prayer was held for Pope John Paul II on the evening of April 5; some 40 priests and 56 seminarians from different parts of the country participated.

Each shared their sorrow over the Pope's death and together they prayed that his soul may be received in Heaven.

All remembered a Pontiff who loved the people of God, especial the people and Church of China.

They all prayed for unity between the Catholic Church of China and the Universal Church.

This morning April 6, the priests and seminarians celebrated a solemn mass with many faithful attending.

The seminary made the front pages when on January 6, 2000, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association decided to ordain 12 (then 5) bishops without the prior consent of the Holy See.

Seminarians and the seminary rector wrote to the Patriotic Association saying that they could not agree to such an action that was contrary to their faiths and refused to participate in an unlawful ordination.

The act of protest led to the seminary's closure for several months—some seminarians were even thrown out.

AsiaNews spoke to a young Chinese priest who some years ago was able to come to Rome on a pilgrimage and was received by John Paul II."

Here is the full text of what he said:

"When I met him I was literally shaking and speechless."

"He was one of the greatest spiritual leaders and moral teachers of the modern era.

"We are very grateful to him who shared with us so many treasures from the teachings of the Church."

"Pope John Paul II dreamt of visiting China. Now his dream has become reality. Now he is even closer to us."

"I don't easily weep but I was very moved during Sunday's memorial mass in many other events. Now we are getting ready to accept and love whomever God sends us."

"The Catholic Church of China and the Universal Church are one and the same; together, they are mourning the death of our Pope. We are united in a single Spirit and one Church: God's Church".

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