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Chinese celebrate World Day of Prayer

Thousands flock to Sheshan shrine to pray for peace and unity within the China Church

Pilgrims recite the rosary at Sheshan pilgrimage site Pilgrims recite the rosary at Sheshan pilgrimage site
  • ucanews.com reporter, Shanghai
  • China
  • May 24, 2012
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Despite drizzling weather, about 5,000 pilgrims gathered Thursday at the Sheshan pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Shanghai to observe the annual World Day of Prayer for the Church in China.

World Day of Prayer was created by Pope Benedict XVI in his first letter to Chinese Catholics five years ago as a way to support the Catholics in China and to strengthen ties to Rome.

Chinese Catholics across the country and around the world hold prayer gatherings and masses on the feast day of Our Lady of Sheshan, patron of the Church in China.

Father Thaddeus Ma Daqin, vicar general of Shanghai, led 30 priests from various dioceses, seminarians of the Sheshan regional seminary, nuns, and faithful in a Marian procession to mark the occasion.

In a homily at the basilica, he explained the “Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan,” which was composed by the Pope in 2008, and urged Catholics to model on the Virgin Mary’s obedience and say “Fiat” (let it be done) when answering God’s calls.

Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian, who heads Shanghai’s “open” Church community, appointed Ma as vicar general last December.

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