Church in Shanghai Growing, Thanks to Foreigners

SHANGHAI, China, JAN. 28, 2004 ( The Catholic Church is growing in China’s largest city, thanks to the arrival of foreigners.

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«Some 100,000 foreigners and about 250,000 Taiwanese live in Shanghai,» said Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian. «Since 1994, we have had permission to celebrate Mass in English and since then, the number of faithful has increased.»

«Every weekend, the Mass in English is celebrated in St. Peter’s Church with the participation of some 1,000 foreigners, among them, 300 Koreans, 250 French and 150 Americans,» he told the Italian newspaper Avvenire. «We are thinking of adding a Mass in Korean.»

Bishop Jin said foreigners who go to church are seeking «the faith.»

«Perhaps the fact of feeling far from home, from their culture and their family, awakens the faith in them,» he said. «To be able to meet with people of other nations in virtue of a same creed gives them strength and security.»

Aloysius Jin Luxian, 88, a Jesuit, was ordained a priest in Rome. He returned to China after the Communist takeover, when many were fleeing the country. This aroused the suspicion of the Communist leaders, who imprisoned him for 27 years. He was released in 1978 and returned to Shanghai.

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