At the conclusion of today’s General Audience, Pope Francis remembered the upcoming celebration of the “World Day of Prayer for the Church in China.”
The day of prayer, which was instituted by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007, coincides with the Marian feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, which is celebrated at the Shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan in Shanghai.
The Holy Father reflected on the image of Our Lady of Sheshan, which depicts the Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus above her head.
“In the statue, which towers above the Shrine, we see Mary who holds her Son high, presenting him to the world with arms opened wide in a gesture of love and mercy,” he said.
“We too will ask Mary to help Catholics in China to be always credible witnesses of this merciful love among their fellow citizens and to live spiritually united to the rock of Peter upon whom the Church is built.”
During today’s audience, a group of children from Asia were playing musical bells as the Holy Father made his way around the crowd in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Francis stayed a few moments to listen them and greeted them before the start of the General Audience.