Pope Francis assured Catholics in China that the universal Church shared their hopes and supported them during hardship.
He also asked all Catholics to pray for their brothers and sisters in China, as the Church celebrated the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians on 24th May.
Because Chinese Catholics have a particularly strong devotion of Our Lady, Help of Christians, Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 established the feast as a world day of prayer for the Church in China.
After praying the Regina Coeli last Sunday, Pope Francis asked that people pray to Our Lady so that Catholics in China would be “strong in the faith and steadfast in fraternal union, joyous witnesses, promoters of charity and brotherly hope, and good citizens.”
Expressing his “great and sincere affection,” Pope Francis said he wanted to assure all Catholics in China “that the universal Church, of which you are an integral part, shares your hopes and supports you in your trials of life.”
“She accompanies you with prayer for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so that the light and beauty of the Gospel might shine in you as the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe,” the pope said.
The Shrine of Our Lady, Help of Christians at Sheshan, outside Shanghai, is the country’s most popular Catholic shrine.
Photo: A worshipper prays during Mass in 2018 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Beijing. (CNS photo/Damir Sagolj, Reuters)