During his Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis expressed his prayers and support for the Church in China. He prayed that those in need might find comfort and inspiration in the unity and support of the entire Church. He showed particular sympathy for the suffering.
In addition to being the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which Pope Benedict XVI instituted in 2007, this speech was delivered on May 24. Every year, it coincides with the Feast of Mary Help of Christians, which is celebrated at the shrine to Our Lady of Sheshan in Shanghai.
Pope Francis Advocates for the Church in China During General Audience
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis urged all Christians to pray for the Church in China during his speech. He fervently pleaded with everyone to focus their prayers on the goal of spreading the Gospel of Christ, as it is revealed in His crucifixion and resurrection. The importance of this for the Catholic Church and larger Chinese society was emphasized by the Pope. Several chaplains who serve the Chinese Catholic population throughout Italy were present in St. Peter's Square.
In the article shared in Independent Catholic News, the Pope ended his speech by reciting a prayer that Pope Benedict XVI wrote in 2008, calling on Our Lady of Sheshan to be the "Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross." The prayer asks Our Lady to watch over and lead the Chinese people, pleading with her to make Catholics trustworthy witnesses of the love and to keep them holding to the cornerstone of Peter, on which the Church is founded.
Urging to Freely Share the Gospel in China
In the article shared in the ACIA Africa, the Pope expressed his support for Chinese Catholics, acknowledging that he shared their pleasures and aspirations. He encouraged the faithful to find comfort and inspiration through the solidarity and unity of the entire Church and expressed particular sympathy for those who were suffering.
In addition, Pope Francis urged people to pray for the complete, beautiful, and liberating proclamation of the gospel of the sacrificing and ever loving lord, which would benefit both the Catholic Church and Chinese society at large.
The event, named The World Day of Prayer for the Church in China was established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 to be in line with the celebration of Our Lady, Help of Christians, who is considered as the country's patroness. Inviting Catholics to pray for the direction and safety of the People of God in China at this time, Benedict XVI urged them to travel the pathways of love and truth, fostering peaceful coexistence among all residents. The prayer considers the Virgin Mary's significant contribution to the tale of redemption, from her obedient acceptance of God's will in Nazareth through her participation in the work of redemption to her vigil at Calvary by the side of her dying Son.