Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - Gratitude and joy, intertwined with an emotion full of consolation, prayers and grateful memory for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who left this earth on the last day of 2022. These are the sentiments with which Chinese Catholics participated in the liturgical celebrations of Sunday, January 1, 2023, Solemnity of Mary Most Holy Mother of God.
In the Archdiocese of Beijing, as reported by Fides (see Fides, 29/12/2022), all churches and places of prayer were reopened on January 1, 2023, after yet another period of closure linked to containment measures of the pandemic. In the cathedral, dedicated to San Salvatore, 300 faithful were able to attend each of the 6 masses celebrated.
In the holy masses celebrated on the first day of the New Year throughout China, they prayed in suffrage for the soul of Pope Benedict. Catholic websites, through their active accounts on social networks such as WeChat, spread news from Rome about the celebration of his funeral and the homage paid by the people of God to his mortal remains, focusing in particular on the apostolic concern with which Pope Benedict XVI supported and promoted the path of the Catholic Church in China. It is unanimously recalled that Pope Ratzinger had reopened dialogue with the Chinese government, and homage was paid to the Letter to Chinese Catholics published by Benedict XVI in 2007, a document which is recognized the value of a "Magna Carta" to guide the path of the Church in China.
The Chinese bishops, contacted by Fides, express with simple and direct words their participation in the emotion of the people of God for the loss of the Pope Emeritus. "The news of his death", says Joseph Han Zhi-hai, Bishop of Lanzhou (Gansu province) "caused sadness mixed with gratitude and feelings of consolation. We prayed for him, following what Pope Francis had also requested. Then came the news of his death, which still took us by surprise. We console ourselves, trusting that he too, as the Apostle Saint Paul writes of himself, fought the good fight, finished his race, kept the faith. Now he will receive the crown of victory! Pope Ratzinger - adds the Bishop of Lanzhou – has made a great contribution to the Church, especially to our Church in China. For this we are eternally grateful, in the name of the whole Church, and with all our hearts. I had the joy of meeting him in Rome in 2008. It was an unforgettable encounter for me, one that I will keep in my memory for the rest of my life. I pray that his soul will go immediately to the Kingdom of God, to the place that Jesus has prepared for him, and that he may rest in his peace".
Bishop Matthias Du Jiang, Bishop of the Diocese of Ba Meng (Inner Mongolia), also recalled that "Pope Benedict, Servant of the Servants of God, was faithful to Christ throughout his life. Because of his deep and vast wisdom and holiness, he is certainly a great Doctor of the Church of our time. We will forever cherish his memory in our hearts, full of gratitude". Antonio Li Hui, Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Pingliang (Gansu Province), also gave a few words of emotional gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI and his love and support for the Church in China. "We - adds Bishop Li Hui will offer masses and prayers for him. May the Lord grant him endless happiness in the Kingdom of Heaven". (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 2/1/2023)
AMERICA/MEXICO - Peace cannot be built because of domestic violence and the disintegration of the social fabric
AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - 100 years of the parish of Pabré, a sign of grace and hope in a country plagued by insecurity