The “method of the Visitation of Mary” as a model suitable for all the baptized to live faith and devotion in May, the Marian month; and a “Year of the family” inspired by the teaching of Pope Francis to accompany families in the difficult time still marked by the coronavirus pandemic. These are some of the initiatives that mark the time for the Chinese Catholic community in the month dedicated to the Virgin Mary and lived in the sign of the intense Marian devotion that has always characterized the faith of Chinese Catholics. This devotion is perhaps experienced even more intensely, in this year marked by the Covid-19 epidemic, reported Fides News Agency.
On May 1, it was not possible to physically make a Marian pilgrimage to the various sanctuaries dedicated to Mary Assumption, in mainland China for the solemn opening mass of the Marian month. The faithful were not discouraged or resigned: the communities decided to welcome the Virgin Mary following the “Visitation” method: families take turns to welcome the Virgin Mary into their home to pray in small groups or in “cenacles of prayer”, reciting the rosary together with neighbors, and thus increasing the experience of faith transmitted through family love.
The Archdiocese of Ji Nan, capital of Shan Dong province, invites us to cultivate Marian prayer in families, stressing that in this way “the pandemic does not prevent us from making the spiritual pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Jian Shan in the village of Hu Zhuang”, where this year 125 years of the construction of the church dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes is being celebrated.
Meanwhile, on April 30, the Archdiocese of Beijing sent a letter to all priests and faithful to promote a special “Year of the Family”, inspired by the Letter addressed by Pope Francis to all the faithful for the month of May 2020 and to the contents of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia on love in the family. During this month, the Archdiocese recalled the importance of safeguarding ecclesial communion in individual communities and with the universal Church, in these times when physical contacts are complicated by the necessary measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. During this time, the Catholics of mainland China followed the mass celebrated by Pope Francis in the chapel of Santa Marta every day, and the priests also used digital tools such as Wechat to serve their communities from a pastoral point of view.