Lushan (Agenzia Fides) - Lushan, "Mount Lú", is a mountain located in the district of the same name, south of the city of Jiujiang, in the Chinese province of Jiangxi. From a distance, you can admire countless peaks that blend into the clouds with enchanting landscapes. The entire area, recognized as cultural heritage by UNESCO, is now part of a vast natural park known internationally. It was precisely in this region that French Lazarist missionaries erected the Church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary in 1894, with the intention of offering a spiritual oasis to the Catholic communities of the regions of Shanghai, Nanjing and Wuhan, as well as all the cities in Jiangxi province. This is where the Catholic community in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, also brought its faithful today for a Lenten pilgrimage and the days leading up to the feast of Saint Joseph, who is also venerated as Patron of missions in China. Way of the Cross, adoration, sacrament of penance to retrace the life of Jesus who, in his passion, entrusted himself to the embrace of the Father.
The parish priest, Father Pang Rui, and the nuns led the pilgrimage, inviting everyone to walk in the footsteps of Saint Joseph, "to learn the virtues of obedience to the Lord, his fervent piety, dedication to the service of the Holy Family".
In 2013, the Catholic community in Jiangxi also erected the Matteo Ricci Spiritual Center of Lushan in the Church of the Assumption of Mary. In ten years, that of Lushan has become one of the most appreciated shrines of Chinese Catholics, and it is also frequented by many non-baptized people, because the Center also offers hospitality to all those who wish to spend a moment of peace and contemplation in an environment that soothes the soul, far from the hustle and bustle of megalopolises. People can walk the Stations of the Cross, pray and meditate in front of the statues of the Virgin and admire the marvels of the Lord's creation. All this is also possible thanks to the vision and hard work of the missionaries.
The style of construction of the Sanctuary (from the church to the Spiritual Center) is simple and linear. The stones of the church tell the story of an unbroken experience of faith, lived even in the midst of tribulation. For 130 years, and with a rhythm that has intensified in the last decade, especially thanks to the call of the Holy Year of Mercy, the Sanctuary has been a constant destination of pilgrimages by communities, families, individual travellers. Groups of internal immigrants, priests and nuns - those of the diocesan Congregations of the Holy Spirit, of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of the Franciscan Missionaries, of the Little Sisters of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux... - arrive from all over the province and the large surrounding towns, to ask Christ for the grace to renew their apostolic and missionary fervor, at the service of all the people.
Thus, every day, the songs of the Ave Maria, the Alleluia, the Dona nobis pacem sung by the various parish choirs rise in the clouds of Mont Lu, to give thanks to Mary and to the Father who is in Heaven. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 15/3/2023)
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