When the faithful heard that authorities were planning to demolish statues at Shengdiliang Shrine in Xiwanzi Diocese on May 13, they started to sleep overnight at the site to protect them. They managed to prevent local authorities from dismantling holy statues at a shrine in Hebei province, but they are worried about another round of persecution by communist officials after a church in the northern province had its cross removed.
The shrine has statues of Jesus the Good Shepherd, Lazarist Bishop Joseph-Martial Mouly (the first bishop of Xiwanzi) and Lazarist Father Mathew Shi (the first parish pastor of Xiwanzi Church).
Mary, a local Catholic, told ucanews.com that the statues were installed by a parish priest more than 10 years ago and people do a pilgrimage to the shrine every Lent for prayers. She believes that Catholics face more persecution in Hebei, which has the largest Catholic population in China with about 1.5 million faithful. “I believe they may demolish the shrine bit by bit,” she said.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In today’s Gospel (Cf. John 10:27-30), Jesus appears as the true Shepherd of the People of God. He speaks about the relationship that binds Him to the sheep of the flock, namely, to His disciples, and He insists on the fact that it’s a relationship of mutual knowledge. “My sheep — He says — hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (vv. 27-28). Reading this phrase attentively, we see that Jesus’ work is explained in some actions: Jesus speaks, Jesus knows, Jesus gives eternal life, Jesus guards.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is attentive to each one of us; He seeks us and loves us, giving us His word, knowing our hearts in depth, our desires and our hopes, as well as our failures and our disappointments. He receives and loves us as we are, with our good points and our bad points. He gives each one of us “eternal life”: that is, He offers us the possibility of living a full life, without end. Moreover, He guards us and guides us with love, helping us to go on impervious paths and at times risky roads that appear in the path of life. …”
Read full version of ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francisbefore and after praying the midday Regina Coeli with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, here: https://zenit.org/articles/regina-coeli-address-on-good-shepherd-sunday/
The attack occurred between 9 and 10 am when the terrorists arrived on board a motorcycle and arrived in Dablo, a village 90 km from Kaya, in the province of Sanmatenga, in the north-central area of Burkina Faso. The armed group immediately attacked the church where Sunday Mass was being celebrated, killing five faithful and the priest. Before escaping, they burned down the church, then shops and a the health center.Attacks against Christian communities are multiplying in Burkina Faso. On April 28, at the end of the celebration in Silgadji, in the province of Soum, a Protestant pastor had been murdered along with five faithful.
In mid-February, a Spanish priest and four customs officers were killed in a jihadist attack in eastern Burkina Faso (see Fides, 16/2/2019), while there is no news of Fr. Joël Yougbaré, parish priest of Djibo, who disappeared in the north of the country on Sunday 17 March (see Fides. 20/3/2019). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 13/5/2019).