Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Welcome to the China Bulletin - June 2016

Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of China 

Feast of Our Lady of Sheshan - Mary Help of Christians 
Image of Our Lady, Help of Christians - Sheshan, Shanghai 
Our Lady of China (Simplified Chinese: 中华圣母, Traditional Chinese: 中華聖母) is the name given to an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Donglu, China, first appearing in 1900.

In 1870s, during the attack of the Taiping Rebellion, the Superior of the Jesuit community in Shanghai, Fr. Gu Zhen Sheng, promised the Blessed Virgin that if the diocese was spared from attack, he would build a basilica in thanksgiving for Our Lady’s special protection. On April 15, 1873, Bishop Languillat of Shanghai consecrated the Basilica on the hilltop. Since then, Our Lady of Sheshan has become the special protector of the Diocese of Shanghai. In 1874, Pope Pius IX granted an indulgence for all pilgrims who completed a pilgrimage to the Shrine during the month of May
A model of the Statue of Our Lady of Sheshan 
Our Lady of China (Simplified Chinese: 中华圣母, Traditional Chinese: 中華聖母) is the name given to an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Donglu, China, first appearing in 1900. In 1924, the first conference of bishops met in Shanghai and adopted the image of the reported apparition as Our Lady of China, and a painting depicting the mother of God bearing the child Jesus was commissioned and hung in the local church. The annual procession dates back to that year.
On May 24, Pilgrims on knees during the procession to the shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai
In April 2000, a new statue was constructed and was blessed by Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian. The new image features the stand-erect Blessed Virgin Mary carrying a Child Jesus on her head, while his arms outstretched in a cruciform gesture. At the base is the original Chinese dragon, representing the Devil with a trident tail, being crushed and defeated by the Madonna.
In May 2007, Pope Benedict XVI released a Letter to Chinese Catholics, in which he asked that May 24 each year be celebrated as a World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. He chose May 24 because it is the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, who is venerated at the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai. In 2008, a copy of the statue was given to Pope Benedict XVI, who then composed a Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan. 

During the Angelus on 22 May the Holy Father prayed that "may the Holy Year of Mercy "become concrete sign of charity and reconciliation for the Chinese Catholics." 
Pilgrims from Peng Chau in Tai O chapel 
Epiphany parish Mui Wo has two mass centers in its territory, and both of them are dedicated to the patronage of the Blessed Mother. In Peng Chau, the community is larger and eucharistic celebration is conducted on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays while the Catholic community in Tai O is much smaller and the Holy Eucharist is celebrated on every first Saturday of the month. On 22 May this year, a group of pilgrims from Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel in Peng Chau made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in Tai O. The local community joined the pilgrims in celebrating the occasion and praying for the Church in China. 

"... Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, 
amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope and to love, 
to never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world. 
In the statue overlooking the shrine you lift your Son 
to the world with open arms in a gesture of love. 

Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever 
clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built. 

Mother of China and Asia, pray for us now and forever. Amen".

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