Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - After the blessing in the Marian Shrine, the statues of Our Lady "made their way" to the deaneries of the province of Jiangxi. This "Visitation of Mary" initiative is based on the story of the visit of the Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth in the Gospel. This year, the blessing took place at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lushan, a sign of the fervor with which popular devotion among Catholics in this Chinese region lives Marian devotion in the month dedicated to her. The statues of Mary, once they have arrived in the various deaneries, will accompany the liturgies, the community prayer of the Rosary and the family prayers in the villages throughout the Marian month. "The devotion to Mary, which is also expressed in this 'pilgrimage' of the statues," said the priest, who celebrated the opening liturgy of the Marian month, "strengthens and comforts our faith in Jesus".
In the first days of May, in various provinces of mainland China, from Hainan to Inner Mongolia, liturgical celebrations and moments of common prayer to the Blessed Mother were combined with solemn ceremonies for the ordination of new priests and deacons.
On Wednesday, May 3, Archbishop Joseph Gan Junqiu of Guangzhou in southern China presided over the priestly ordination of Hou Pengfei on Hainan Island. The Catholic community in Hainan has a special history: Up until 11 years ago, when the first priest was ordained there in 60 years, there was only one church and only one religious was active in pastoral care. Today, Hainan Island is home to more than 5,000 baptized Catholics, mostly migrant workers from ethnic minorities, and there are eight churches. As Bishop Gan pointed out, Hainan Island "is a typical example of the situation Jesus described when he said, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.' We must show mercy to the Lord for the gift of a new priest".
The Catholic community in the northern steppes of Inner Mongolia is also rejoicing in the ordination of a new deacon called to serve the local Church with missionary zeal. In the Diocese of Linyi (Shandong Province), on Wednesday, May 3, two new priests were ordained in a solemn ceremony presided over by Bishop John Fang Xingyao and in the presence of over a thousand faithful, while Archbishop Paul Meng Ningyou of Taiyuan (capital Province of Shanxi), ordained five new priests and one deacon from the Diocese of Jinzhong. The concelebration, which he chaired, brought together 120 priests. Archbishop Meng will preside over priestly ordinations in his Archdiocese of Taiyuan on May 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 6/5/2023)