Chinese diocese celebrates anniversary of St Francis Xavier

 A wooden Cross two metres high, the symbol of the year of evangelisation which Shanghai diocese has undertaken in 2006, is visiting several parishes to promote evangelisation and strengthen local Catholics in the faith. Every parish visited organises adoration of the Cross, prayer meetings, meditation on the spirituality of Cross. Objectives recommended by the diocese to the faithful in the year of evangelisation include: deeper study of the Gospel and the Council Decree "Ad Gentes"; promote to the maximum level the role of the laity in evangelisation; take as an example the great Jesuit missionary St Francis Xavier, Patron of Missions; participate in Adoration of the Cross which is travelling through the diocese; put into practice the teaching of the Pope, especially devotion to the Eucharist promoted by Pope John Paul II and strive to render visible God's love for all men and women, as Pope Benedict XVI encourages. The diocese has also organised an Evangelisation Congress in May and a Concert of Sacred Music in October. . On 3 December, the feast day of the saint, in the parish dedicated to him in Shanghai, a Baroque-style church built 150 years ago and the see of the then Vicar Apostolic of Jiang Nan, a solemn Mass will be celebrated. The diocese of Shanghai was formerly a mission opened by French Jesuits. Today the Catholic community is composed of over 100,000 faithful, with 70 priests, 80 women religious, 30 novices and a major seminary. There are 110 churches many of which are testimonials of the history of the local church and faith. For example the parish church of St Peter in Luotang hosted a meeting of Jesuit missionaries in 1627 to discuss the translation in Chinese of the word Deus. The parish of the Immaculate Conception in Jin Jia Xiang is the place where Andrea Kim Dai-Kon, Korea's first Catholic priest and first martyr saint, was ordained on 17 August 1845. The famous She Shan Shrine built in 1907 dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes is a place of pilgrimage for all Asian Catholics. The diocese has its own Catholic printing press Guang Qi, computer school, activity of production and sale! of religious objects. The laity are very active and many belong to the Shang Hai Association of Catholic Intellectuals. Source: Fides

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