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    » 05/25/2009, 00.00

    CHINA – VATICAN

    The day of Prayer for the Church in China under control. Pope’s Letter is blocked



    No diocesan pilgrimages to the Sanctuary of Sheshan because of bans. Little publicity even in the diocese of Shanghai. In Hebei the Catholics go without mass because the priests are under arrest. Access to the Vatican website with Benedict XVI’s Letter (in Chinese) is still blocked.
    Rome (AsiaNews) – The Day of Prayer for the Church in China passed almost unnoticed in many diocese of the Peoples Republic.  In Hebei, where there are strict controls, the faithful of the underground community couldn’t even hold masses because of the lack of priests.

    In his 2007 Letter to Chinese Catholics Benedict XVI had launched the idea of a World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, to be held each May 24th the feast of Mary Help of Christians, who is particularly venerated in the Marian Sanctuary of Sheshan, a few kilometres distance from Shanghai. The Pope’s intention is that through prayer unity may grow within the Church in China, as well as its bond with St Peter’s Successor.  The Sheshan Sanctuary, a site of pilgrimage for over a century, is the ideal place given that draws Catholics from the Official and Underground Church.  But since the Pope instituted the day of prayer it has become increasingly difficult for Catholics to access Sheshan.  This year, like the previous year, police enforced strict traffic rules for the entire Month of May and diocese advised the faithful against making the pilgrimage to Sheshan.  This year even the diocese of Shanghai – the only diocese with unlimited access – promoted the pilgrimage for May 23rd, but in a very subdued manner, without even advertising it. In the years beforehand, up to 20 thousand pilgrims visited the sanctuary.  To date only a few thousand have arrived.

    Other diocese chose to organise pilgrimages to local Marian sanctuaries.  AsiaNews sources report that in Hebei, the region with the highest number of Catholics, underground communities had to go without mass because of a lack of priests.  This is due to a strict control across the region that forbids public gatherings and to the fact that at least 10 underground priests are already in prison for having celebrated masses outside locations approved by the Office for Religious Affairs.

    Yesterday the Holy See issued the Compendium of the Pope’s Letter to Chinese Catholics, which readdresses the themes of the Letter in a question and answer format, to aid better understanding.  The Compendium is published in simplified and traditional Chinese and English. Still today however access to the Vatican’s website in Chinese is blocked and it is impossible to decipher or download the website’s contents, including the Pope’s Letter in Chinese.

     

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    See also

    20/05/2010 HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
    You should be at the Marian shrine of Sheshan, Pope tells Card Zen
    Hong Kong’s bishop emeritus leads a prayer vigil for religious freedom and the Church in China. He reveals bits of conversation he had with Benedict XVI during the pilgrimage to Fatima.

    22/05/2008 CHINA – VATICAN
    In China the Church is getting ready for the World Day of Prayer in union with the Pope
    The government stops pilgrimages and gatherings, but in Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Guangzhou official and underground priests, religious and faithful prepare to pray the Pope’s words about Our Lady of Sheshan. In addition to the Pope’s intent they will pray for Sichuan quake victims, grateful to the Universal Church.

    24/05/2012 CHINA - VATICAN
    Month long Chinese crackdown on Donglu Marian shrine
    Catholic source tells AsiaNews that security measures have been tightened in the village, used to accommdoate a Marian shrine. Officials enforce round-the-clock control on the village. Lay Catholic leaders are also under surveillance. Banners call for resistance against "foreign infiltration". Faithful pray instead to Our Lady for Church unity.

    24/05/2008 CHINA – VATICAN
    Even in persecution we pray to Our Lady of Sheshan
    A Chinese Catholic from the underground Church sends AsiaNews a message for World Day of Prayer for the Church in China in which he highlights how the faithful pray in communion with the Pope despite hardships and repression, hopeful that he might soon bear witness to a true unity of the Church with the Pontiff.

    24/05/2009 VATICAN
    From the land of St Benedict my thoughts go to the people of China and it’s Catholics, says Pope
    Marking the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China and Our Lady of Sheshan (Shanghai). Saint Benedict, witness of peace, gift of God and duty of all.



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