Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - After three years of pandemic, the Chinese Catholic communities have finally resumed the solemn celebrations of the Easter Triduum and live intensely the "highlight" which represents the culmination of the entire liturgical year.
After the solemn celebration of Palm Sunday and the intense participation of the baptized in the "National Day of Collection for the Victims of Natural Disasters" (see Fides, 1/4/2023), the Catholic dioceses of China also returned to celebrate the Chrism Mass, a liturgy in which the unity of the local Church is manifested around its bishop, then the Mass in Coena Domini, with the washing of the feet.
During the Chrism Mass, usually presided over by the bishop in the cathedral, the Holy Oils were consecrated: Chrism (used to administer the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders), the oil of catechumens and the oil of the sick . In addition, the priests of the diocese renewed the promises made on the day of their priestly ordination.
About seventy of the eighty priests who are part of the diocesan clergy participated in the Chrism Mass of the diocese of Shanghai, presided over in the cathedral by Bishop Joseph Shen Bin. In his homily, Bishop Shen Bin invited everyone to recognize themselves as belonging to the same family. On Tuesday, April 4, in the speech given on the occasion of the recent inauguration (see Fides, 4/4/2023), the same Bishop, among other things, said that "the diocese belongs to all of us" and no one in the ecclesial community can act as if the life of the diocese does not concern him.
In the Cathedral of the Diocese of Baoding, the Chrism Mass, presided over by Bishop Francis An Shuxin, was concelebrated by 43 priests. During his homily, after explaining the value of the consecration of oils, the bishop also pointed out that the diocesan liturgical office had to reprint the liturgy booklets, provide additional quantities of oils and organize the production of 60 new chasubles, given the large number of priests who concelebrated the Chrism Mass.
In the diocese of Xi'an, about fifty priests celebrated the Chrism Mass in the cathedral dedicated to Saint Francis. Seminarians from the major and minor seminaries, as well as sisters from the Congregation of the Sacred Heart also took part in the liturgy.
In the diocese of Sanyuan, Bishop Joseph Han yingjin presided over the solemn liturgy and in his homily he urged all priests to remember "the promise, made on the day of our priestly ordination, to dedicate our lives to the mission of announcing the Gospel". The bishop invited all the baptized to support the priests with prayer and closeness in their common apostolic concern, so that even today "the Church may be a light for the world and bear witness to God's love".
During the masses celebrated in the provinces of Jiangxi and Jiangsu, the homilies also underlined the communion, the action of the Holy Spirit, the fact that the priests are called to live among themselves and with the bishop "to proclaim the Gospel, serve the diocese and all the baptized", the latter being in turn invited to "take care of their priests".
In Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, Bishop Paul Meng Qinglu also washed the feet of 12 lay people during the Coena Domini Mass, inviting them all to "imitate the humility and mercy of Jesus Christ, to manifest the spirit of love and mutual service". All participants also took part in a solemn Eucharistic procession, followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 7/4/2023)