Shi Jia Zhuang (Agenzia Fides) - In communion with the Universal Church the Chinese Catholics welcome Pope Francis with great enthusiasm and happiness. At 5 am on March 14, the first masses of the parishes of Beijing dedicated a prayer of thanksgiving for the election of Pope Francis. Bishops, priests and lay Catholics expressed the desire: "Pope Francis, we are looking forward to having you in China."
The majority of Chinese Catholics were glued to the TV screens and computers to watch live the election of the new Pontiff, in the middle of the night considering the 7-hour time difference. The next morning, challenging the sub-zero temperatures, crowds of the faithful in the parish churchyards stopped to exchange impressions on this night full of surprises.
According to a priest of He Bei, "this Pope reminded me of Matteo Ricci who is his confrere, Francis Xavier, although He underlined that his choice is that of Francis of Assisi.
He is one of us, simple, humble and welcoming. He inspires tenderness."
Different religious communities immediately started praying after the news of the election of the new Pope One of them said, "He is like a fresh fall from the sky in the middle of this world overwhelmed by worldly and spiritual emptiness. We pray for him, for the mission to create an oasis in the world today." (NZ) (Agenzia Fides 15/03/2013)