Beijing (AsiaNews) - Chinese Catholics are preparing to celebrate Christmas with joy and peace, despite the recent events in the Catholic Church in China.
An underground priest, Joseph in northeastern China toldAsiaNews that he and his other two priests in the parish have to move about in 12 churches or prayer houses to celebrate midnight Mass and Christmas Mass for their faithful.
This year, northern China experiences extreme cold weather, as the temperature is now minus 30 degree Celsius. “To avoid the faithful travelling for a long way in the snowy weather,- he said - the priests would move about to say Christmas Mass in their localities.”.
Catholics are helpful in organizing prayers, novena and adoration of Child Jesus in the manger while Catholic students have organized activities for parishioners, he said.
“I hope our Lord who descend among us would grant us the permanent warmth,” he said amid the events in the Church in China in the past weeks.
In the south, Bishop Cai Bingrui of Xiamen, Fujian province, who celebrates the first Christmas as bishop, told AsiaNews that he prays that evangelization and social services in the diocese will be strengthened. He was ordained a bishop this past May.
Thanks to the young Catholics, Mgr. Cai said, they have organized a 90-minute drama based on the Nativity story to be shown before midnight Mass tomorrow at the cathedral. “This will give non-Catholics a clear understanding of the Nativity”, he said, since Christmas usually attracts many non-Catholics to come to churches.
Both Masses at the cathedral as well as the one on Gulangyu Island will take place at 8 pm instead of midnight. The church on the island will be in English and many foreigners are expected, and the Mass will be held outdoor.
Also ordained this year was Bishop Han Yingjin of Sanyuan, who issued his first ever pastoral letter at the time of Advent, calling for efforts for evangelization.