A global grassroots Catholic movement is offering prayer and solidarity with our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters who are living in China. We encourage you to join in this Global Week of Prayer for China from Sunday, May 23 to Sunday, May 30, 2021.
As China has burst onto the world stage as a rising global power, it has been accompanied by one especially worrying development: the concerted effort to control, subdue and, where possible, extinguish religion. Not only have the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang been affected by this persecution, so too have Christians of all denominations. Issues range from disappearing bishops to bulldozed churches to minors being forbidden from entering churches. Sadly, full-blown persecution of Christians in China has been underway for years but has intensified under cover of the pandemic.
All this has led the president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, Cardinal Charles Bo, to announce an urgent appeal for a Global Week of Prayer for the Church and the Peoples of China, from Sunday, May 23 to Sunday, May 30, 2021. These dates are in keeping with the tradition set by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, designating the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians as a day to pray especially for the Church in China.
An international coalition of lay Catholics has been working during these past months to actively support this very important initiative by Cardinal Bo.
Please consider joining in this movement and spreading the word to others. You can find many helpful resources at the Global Prayer for China website.
To learn more about this issue, you can read this profile on the persecution of Christians in China.
Thank you for your prayers for the people of China.
Prayer of His Holiness Benedict XVI
To Our Lady of Sheshan
On the Occasion of the World Day of Prayer
For the Church in China (May 24, 2008)
Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians",
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them
along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be
a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.
When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.
From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.
Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world,
and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!