An Italian publisher dedicated to the missions has published a booklet to aid in prayer for the Church in China, as May 24 is the World Day of Prayer for the Church there.
Since China mandates that religious organizations be registered with the Patriotic Association and strictly controlled by the government, many Catholics live their faith within the “underground” Church.
Editrice Missionaria Italiana (EMI) [Italian Missionary Publishers] publishd Forti nella tribolazione, perseveranti nella preghiera [Strong in Tribulation, Steadfast in Prayer] as an Italian-language guide to help participate in the World Day of Prayer, created by Benedict XVI in 2007.
May 24 was chosen for the World Day because it is the feast of Mary Help of Christians, the day in which the Chinese faithful honor the Virgin at the Sheshan shrine, on the outskirts of Shanghai.
Wednesday, during the general audience, Pope Francis recalled the importance of this occasion, inviting all Catholics to prayer.
“Forti nella tribolazione, perseveranti nella preghiera” is a booklet that proposes a Vigil of Prayer made up of important points for reflection on the history and difficulties of the Church in China. Among other things, the aid includes texts from Benedict XVI and excerpts of his 2007 Letter to Chinese Catholics. In that text, the Pope exalted the testimony of faith of Catholics of China inviting the Church in China to unity, recalling that “no difficulty can separate us from the love of Christ.”
Also, among the different testimonies of concrete faith contained in the aid, is that of Don Bao, a Chinese priest who recounts his suffering spiritual journey, always illumined by faith. The choice of the Catholic faith and consecration entailed for him clandestinity, poverty and loneliness. But Don Bao confirms: “My strength is Jesus Himself. He said: ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you. On this path I find the cross but also joy and peace.'”
The publication was edited by Gerolamo Fazzini, editor-in-chief of Credere, and Father Angelo Lazzarotto, PIME missionary with a long experience of relations with China (author of “What Future for the Church in China?”, EMI, 2012.