DOP CIRCULAR NO. 2013-048
15 May 2013
TO: ALL PARISH PRIESTS, PARISH ADMINISTRATORS, CHAPLAINS, AND RECTORS OF SHRINES, CONSECRATED MEN AND WOMEN AND LAY FAITHFUL IN THE DIOCESE OF PARAÑAQUE
RE: WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH IN CHINA (24 MAY, MEMORIAL OF OUR LADY, HELP OF CHRISTIANS)
Reverend Monsignori and Fathers,
Consecrated men and women,
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
Peace be with you!
On Pentecost 2007, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI addressed a Letter to the Bishops, Priests, Consecrated Persons and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China to express his "fraternal closeness" and to "acknowledge your faithfulness to Christ the Lord and to the Church, a faithfulness that you have manifested 'sometimes at the price of grave sufferings'" (n. 2).
He assured them that, every year, on the 24th of May "dedicated to the liturgical memorial of Our Lady, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai... the Catholics of the whole world... will demonstrate their fraternal solidarity and solicitude for you, asking the Lord of history for the gift of perseverance in witness, in the certainty that your sufferings past and present for the Holy Name of Jesus and your intrepid loyalty to his Vicar on earth will be rewarded, even if at times everything can seem a failure" (n. 19).
In communion, therefore, with our suffering brothers and sisters in China, let us fulfill this promise by offering prayers, sacrifices and works of charity. I ask my esteemed brother priests to exhort the faithful through preaching and example. Let us recite the Prayer of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Our Lady of Sheshan after the Post-Communion Prayer of every Mass from 24 to 26 May (Trinity Sunday).
As we celebrate the solemn feast of Pentecost, let us honor the Spirit of the Lord, the "Spirit of adoption" who incorporates people of every race, language and way of life into the family of God (cf. Romans 8:15).
MOST REV. JESSE E. MERCADO, D.D.
Bishop of Parañaque
MSGR. BENEDICTO S. AQUINO
PRAYER OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
TO OUR LADY OF SHESHAN
ON THE OCCASION OF THE WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH IN CHINA
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 cooperated 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.
From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.
Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and forever. Amen!