Laywomen of Xingtai diocese join the celebration of Our Lady of China feast and the Mother’s Day
Politicians in mainland China are calling for a Chinese Mother’s Day, but Catholics claim they already have one which they cherish -- the Our Lady of China feast.
About 60 politicians and scholars recently called for a Chinese Mother’s Day to be introduced on the birthday of the ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius (Meng Zi), whose mother is regarded an exemplary female figure in Chinese culture.
The widow was believed to have moved home three times before finding a location she felt suitable for Mencius’s upbringing. His birthday in the 4th century B.C. was on the second day of the fourth month in the lunar calendar, which fell on May 4 this year.
However, the politicians’ call means little to Catholics as many continue to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of China together with Mother’s Day in many Western countries at various Marian shrines across mainland China.
The feast is celebrated on the second Saturday of May, or the eve of Mother’s Day. It fell on May 7 this year. Catholics attended Mass and prayed to Mary for her blessing for the motherland on that day.
Joseph, a catechist in Shaanxi province, thinks expressing filial piety on Mother’s Day enhances moral education.
“For us Catholics, thanking our mothers through religious rites helps purify our hearts and enhance social harmony,” he said.
At Our Lady of China Church in Wei village in Hebei province’s Xingtai (Zhaoxian) diocese, about 6,000 pilgrims also gathered for the feast.
Twenty-six priests concelebrated a solemn Mass, with bands and rural dance teams from neighboring villages joining the festivities to create a cheerful and bustling atmosphere.
Father John Baptist Zhang Shijiang, director of the Hebei Faith Press, told the congregation in his homily about the origins of the feast and reminded mothers to follow the Blessed Mother’s example of depending on God for everything.
The Shanghai Synod of Bishops in China in 1924 -- the first national conference of bishops in the country -- dedicated the Chinese people to the Blessed Mother.
After the Second Vatican Council, the Holy See in 1973 approved the feast day being set on the second Saturday of May.
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