Following Pope Francis’ Lenten Message, the priests proposed catechesis, retreats, Eucharistic adoration, Via Crucis, works of charity. Renewal for individuals, families, parishes, society.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - Two full days, from late morning to late evening, hearing the confessions of hundreds of faithful. In the diocese of the priest who writes to AsiaNews – who remains anonymous for security issues - at least 95% of the faithful approached the sacrament of reconciliation. This is the first step for the renewal of individual believers, families, the Church and society. The testimony of the Lenten and Easter journey by an underground priest.
Lent is a new beginning, but its specific purpose is a journey toward Easter, to Christ who defeated death. We are called to conversion and to penance.
God asks Christians to go to him with all their heart (Joel 2:12), refuse mediocrity, promote friendship with the Lord. These are some passages of the Message that Pope Francis sent us this Lenten season, 2017.
The Pope's words inspire us to live penance and conversion and to participate in the mystery of Easter.
We experienced the renewal of families and parishes of our diocese through a series of pastoral activities proposed during Lent to Easter. Earlier, I helped celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation in two parishes, along with the pastor. At least 95% of the faithful received the sacrament to reconcile with themselves, with others, and with God. For a whole day, for eight hours, I heard confessions with another priest. But even then we had not finished, as there were many other believers still waiting, so we continued to hear confessions the next day.
During this time, some priests offered special catechetical lessons, preached annual retreats, proposed adoration of the Eucharist even at night, and the Via Crucis. In some parishes there was a " charity box," for offerings and petitions to the Father and Jesus on the Cross.
During Holy Week the parish priest led preparation for Easter, helped by the group of community leaders, by the choir.
Every year, priests work hard during Holy Week and on Easter Day. But it is a joyful work because it is about self-renewal and that of families, parishes, and society, thanks to many works of charity.
The Letter expresses "the love of the Holy Father for our Church". The "tragedy" for the Church in China: bishops who become "state officials", "do not listen to the Letter" and are afraid of "giving their life to the flock". But there are "bishops and priests [who] safeguard the true faith of the Catholic Church." Profound thanks to the universal Church.
The need for greater clarity from the Holy See; the bitterness of division between official and underground communities: "Are we not all serving Christ’s cause?" The story of the difficulties a Chinese priest faces in his daily life.
The daily life of a priest of North China, from the official Church, in a society dominated by atheism and superstitions. State pressures to break bonds with the Pope. Safeguarding the Catholic faith in negotiations between China and the Vatican. A testimony from the AsiaNews Symposium.
The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong highlights the ambiguities that drag on in talks and in the expectations of diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican: belonging to the Patriotic Association, which Benedict XVI called "incompatible" with Catholic doctrine (and which Francis confirmed); silence on the persecution of the faithful and priests; ambiguities over appointment of bishops. A critique of the revival of the Vatican's Ostpolitik.