Loading
A rare breed: the World Youth Day pilgrim from communist China
Thomas Zeng, WYD pilgrim from China
Thomas Zeng, WYD pilgrim from China
By David Kerr
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Corrected Oct. 14, 2011 12:59 MDT. Changes number of Chinese pilgrims from zero to 60 and corrects name of Zeng's university.

The final Mass of World Youth Day was a sea of national flags. In the million-strong crowd, however, it was hard to find one particular flag – China. That’s until CNA bumped into Thomas Zeng.

“This week has been absolutely fascinating,” said the university student who’s traveled all the way from Shanghai to be at World Youth Day in Madrid. Thomas says he met with 60 other pilgrims from mainland China.

“It is wonderful that I can meet so many Catholics, more than one million. That could never happen in my country, but I believe with the grace of God that it will one day.”

Thomas is actually one of 8 to 12 million Chinese Catholics. About half of them, though, have ties to the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, a state agency founded in 1957.

Many bishops now belong to the Patriotic Association while maintaining communion with the Holy See, but the association's principles of independence and strong nationalism make this position difficult. The Patriotic Association has recently ordained several bishops without Vatican approval.

Thomas says it's “not difficult to be a Catholic in China.” But to be “a good Catholic,” he notes, might be a different matter: “If you want to proclaim (Catholicism), you will maybe be in trouble.” 

“I think after today I think I will be more brave to proclaim Jesus Christ to my friends, my classmates,” says the student of management science at his home city’s University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, adding that he will no longer “be so afraid.”

“People in the Middle East, they have a worse situation than us,” he observed. “So we must be brave. We need not bear with fear, because God is with us and we have a lot of opportunities – especially in Shangai, as it is a very open, international city.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
26

Liturgical Calendar

November 26, 2014

Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 21:5-11

Gospel
Date
11/25/14
11/24/14
11/23/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 15: 1-4
Gospel:: Lk 21: 12-19

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/25/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 21:5-11

Homily
Date
11/25/14
11/24/14
11/21/14