Shanghai (AsiaNews) - Two years after the death of the bishop of Shanghai Mgr. Aloysius Jin Luxian, a memorial Mass was held this morning in the cathedral of St. Ignatius in Xujiahui district. The liturgy was attended by hundreds of people, including priests, nuns, seminarians and faithful.
The Mass was presided by the parish priest, Fr. Wu Jianlin. Since the death of Msgr. Jin and almost a year later that of underground bishop, Msgr. Fan Zhongliang, who was not recognized by the government, the diocese of Shanghai has no free bishop.
Since 2012, the auxiliary bishop, Msgr. Thaddeus Ma Daqin has been under house arrest in Sheshan seminary. He was deposed as bishop of the city and forbidden to officiate as a bishop and in public because at his ordination - which took place in the church of St. Ignatius - he decided to break away from the Patriotic Association, the Party organism of control over the Church.
Msgr. Ma’s decision to break away by the Patriotic Association had begun a process of reconciliation between the official and underground communities in the diocese. Since his arrest this process has ground to a halt.
This morning Mass in suffrage of Bishop Jin was attended few faithful and priests of the unofficial community. After this morning’s Mass a priest of the official community told AsiaNews: "We would like greater unity with the underground community, but we fear that the government will block and ban everything, as they did with Msgr. Ma".
Meanwhile, the Diocese of Shanghai is preparing for the feast of Our Lady of Sheshan, whose shrine is in the hills a dozen kilometers from the metropolis. The feast falls on May 24 (Mary Help of Christians), but the national shrine is a pilgrimage destination for the entire month of May. Also this year, for the month of May buses and cars will have to get special permits to access the sanctuary.
Since 2007, when Pope Benedict XVI launched a World Day of Prayer for China on May 24, the government has imposed restrictions and controls and on the feast day only allows the Shanghai faithful to participate thus curbing the presence other groups and stamping out any chance for a united expressions of faith.