ASIA/CHINA - "Scrutiny" of catechumens, "mandate" of altar servers, ecological initiatives. The intense start of Lent of the Chinese Catholic communities

Monday, 27 February 2023 local churches   lent   sacraments   catechumens   safeguarding creation   ecology  

Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - Solemn Eucharistic celebrations with great participation of the People of God, "scrutinies" of catechumens preparing for baptism, missionary mandate of lectors and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, who will now be able to take the Eucharist to the sick and the disabled. In the Chinese Catholic communities, the first Sunday of Lent was marked by appointments and pastoral occasions that accompany, according to tradition, the start of the Lenten journey, a "favorable time" to ask for forgiveness of sins, do works of charity and prepare for the joy of Easter.
In the Archdiocese of Beijing, many parishes have adapted liturgical celebrations to the needs of many workers. In the cathedral, on Sunday, February 26, Archbishop Joseph Li Shan presided over the rite of scrutiny of the catechumens, and also conferred the missionary mandate on 11 extraordinary ministers.
During the Lenten season, these 11 well-trained lay baptized, as required by the Church, will be sent to the homes of the elderly and sick to bring Communion.
In many parishes in Beijing, an evening Mass had already been added on Ash Wednesday to enable many working men and women who had been unable to attend morning Masses to participate in the penitential rite. For the same pastoral reason, the rite of the imposition of the Ashes was also celebrated during many masses on Sunday, February 26. At the parish dedicated to the Miraculous Medal, the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was also celebrated, in addition to the rites of the "scrutiny" of the catechumens and the missionary mandate of the lectors of liturgical celebrations. After a period of catechism, with the so-called "scrutiny", the catechumens confirm their intention to follow Christ and also attest that their choice is not superficial or emotional, but increasingly rooted in an authentic journey of faith.
The Catholic community of Shenzhen, in addition to celebrating the Lenten rites regarding catechumens, ministers of the Eucharist, the sick and lectors, also lived the first Sunday of Lent as an opportunity to raise awareness among all the baptized about ecological issues and the protection of Creation. The young local Catholic community is made up almost exclusively of internal immigrant workers. The first Sunday of Lent started with an ecological journey after Mass. The baptized, led by the parish priests, also promoted an extraordinary garbage collection, under the slogan “Shenzhen will be more beautiful also thanks to my contribution; the people of Shenzhen will be happier also because of my contribution.” In this way, following the teaching of the Church also reaffirmed by Pope Francis in the Encyclical Laudato Sì, the Catholics of Shenzen also wanted to show how the concern of Christians for the protection of Creation can offer a precious contribution to urban coexistence and to the common good of all citizens. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 27/2/2023)