From left: Frs John Chen, Peter Zhang and Francis Wang celebrating the Mass to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. In front of the altar is a little statue of Our Lady of Sheshan carrying the baby Jesus.  Photos: HAI SING PAO

We are one Church, one community, said Fr John Chen during the annual Mass for the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China.

Speaking to a crowd of 150 mostly Mandarin-speaking Catholics, he said that when Jesus started His ministry, He called upon His disciples from all walks of life to follow Him and form a new family, the family of God.

This was the Church community, said Fr Chen at the Mass held at the Church of the Risen Christ on May 24, and conducted in Mandarin and English.

In this community we believe in one God and we follow Jesus, said Fr Chen. The community is based on the principle that “whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother”.

Fr Peter Zhang was the main celebrant at the Mass, which was concelebrated by Fr Francis Wang and Fr Chen.

A special prayer for the intercession of Our Lady of Sheshan, who is venerated at the shrine of Sheshan near Shanghai, was recited during the celebration, as well as rosary prayers in Mandarin and English.

The crowd at the May 24 Mass.

Mr Lee, a Chinese national who was among the foreign workers attending the celebration, commented that praying with local Catholics made him feel that “the Church was one”.

A local Catholic noted that foreign workers are usually very shy. She added that “we should always take the initiative and make the first move to welcome them to church”.

The celebration was organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for Apostolate of Mandarin-speaking (ACAMS).

The annual celebration is in response to a request in 2007 by then Pope Benedict XVI, who designated May 24 as a day of prayer for the Church in China.

Submitted by HAI SING PAO