Vatican City, May 16, 2008 / 07:53 am America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Benedict has composed a prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which will be observed on May 24.
In a letter written to the Catholic Church in China last year, the Holy Father expressed his hope that May 24, the memorial of Our Lady Help of Christians, who is venerated at the shrine of Seshan in Shanghai, would become a day of prayer for the Church in China.
The full text of the English-language version of the Holy Father's prayer is given below:
"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 co-operated 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.