Vatican City, May 24 (efe-epa).- Pope Francis issued a message of solidarity to Catholics in China on Sunday and said the church “shares your hopes and supports you in your trials”.
His message was released on the day faithful in the country celebrate the feast of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of China, venerated in the Sheshan shrine in Shanghai.
“Dearest Catholic brothers and sisters in China, I wish to assure you that the universal church, of which you are an integral part, shares your hopes and supports you in your trials,” the pontiff said.
He prayed that the Chinese faithful “might be strong in faith and steadfast in fraternal union, joyful witnesses, promoters of charity and hope, and good citizens”.
Catholics in China celebrated the feast of Mary, help of Christians, on Sunday.
The Virgin Mary is venerated under this title at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan in Shanghai.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote a Letter to Chinese Catholics in 2007 and proclaimed a Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which is celebrated every year on 24 May.
Sheshan Shrine is normally visited by pilgrims from all over China throughout the year.
This year all visits have been banned due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the diocese of Shanghai asking the faithful to pray from home instead.
The pope also prayed for Catholics around the world to support “the commitment of those in China who, among their daily labours, continue to believe, hope, and love”.