Vatican City, May 13, 2021 / 10:15 am
There was some hope that the Marian Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Sheshan, in the People's Republic of China, would be included among the shrines of reference for one of the daily rosaries for the end of pandemic called by Pope Francis during May.
But the final list did not have that shrine, nor any other one in China.
The Marian shrine of Sheshan is a reference point for Catholics in China. Every year, during May, the shrine is the destination of pilgrimages from all over the country, especially on her May 24 feast.
The shrine of Sheshan is located in the Diocese of Shanghai, where Bishop Taddeo Ma Daqin has been under house arrest since 2012.
For the second consecutive year, authorities have suspended pilgrimages to Sheshan arguing COVID-related restrictions.
The diocese said that "since the pandemic at home and abroad is not yet under control, and measures for the prevention of the pandemic are still in place in the nation, to comply with the requests and regulations of the municipal government [of Shanghai] … The annual May pilgrimage to Sheshan has been canceled."
This year restrictions, however, appeared to be arbitrary since the massive amusement park in Sheshan has reopened; and since March, places of worship have been reopened in many other provinces, albeit amid strict health measures.
Benedict XVI composed in 2008 a prayer for Our Lady of Sheshan and set the day of prayer for the Church in China on May 24. This decision followed his 2007 letter to the Catholics in China.