Christian group supports prayer octave for China

burmacardinal.jpg Cardinal Charles Maung Bo preaching at Westminster Cathedral in London, England, May 12, 2016. Credit: Mazur/catholicnews.org| The flag of the People's Republic of China. Credit: Gang Liu/Shutterstock

A Christian coalition is supporting the prayer octave for the Church in China urged by Charles Maung Cardinal Bo of Yangon.

In 2007, Benedict designated May 24, the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, as a Worldwide Day of Prayer for the Church in China. In March, Cardinal Bo called for that day of prayer to be expanded into an octave, observed May 23-30.

Deacon Andrew Bennett, spokesperson for the Global Prayer for China campaign and a deacon serving in the Ukrainian Eparchy of Toronto, has said that “Cardinal Bo has taken a very courageous and welcome step in calling on the Church around the world to pray for the Church and the peoples of China, and it is incumbent on us to respond to his call. That is why a group of Christians has come together to help facilitate this week of prayer.” 

“We hope many individuals and parishes will take part in some way, through the Prayers of the Faithful during Mass and in personal, private prayer. Our new website is designed to assist and facilitate this, and we hope that individuals and parishes will use the resources available through the website, spread the word to others, and mobilize the Church worldwide to pray for China,” commented Deacon Bennett, who is also a former Canadian Ambassador for Religious Freedom.

Other members of the Global Prayer for China coalition include US Congressman Chris Smith; David Alton, Baron Alton of Liverpool; Garnett Genuis, a member of the Canadian parliament; Kevin Andrews, a member Australia’s parliament; Irish entrepreneur Declan Ganley; Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Nina Shea; and Benedict Rogers of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

Cardinal Bo had said in March that “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the peoples of China have faced increasing challenges, which impact us all. It is right that we should pray not only for the Church but for all persons in the People’s Republic of China.”

“We should ask Our Lady of Sheshan to protect all humanity and therefore the dignity of each and every person in China, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer, ‘to believe, to hope, to love’,” he added.

Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, chair of the US bishops’ international justice and peace committee, said May 20 that “recognizing China’s growing global power, Cardinal Bo has expressed his hope that through these prayers, China ‘may become a force for good and a protector of the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized in the world.’ Similarly, Pope Francis has also affirmed his prayers for Catholics in China, acknowledging their difficulties, assuring them of his daily prayers, and exhorting them to be good citizens, ‘to make a prophetic and constructive contribution born of their faith in the kingdom of God.’”

“In unity and great love, let us join with the Church universal in our prayers to Our Lady Help of Christians, for China,” Bishop Malloy concluded.

In February 2020 China began enforcing administrative measures to control every aspect of religious activity within the country, mandating that all religions and believers in China comply with regulations issued by the Chinese Communist Party, which must be acknowledged as the higher authority.

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