Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Sheshan in China

This past Saturday, Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form for the first time in 30 years at the shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan in Shanghai, one of the oldest and most important pilgrimage shrines in China. The Virgin Mary is also venerated there with the title Our Lady, Help of Christians; Her feast day under that title is this Friday, May 24th, and this seems to be the principal “local” Marian feast in China, analogous to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, Our Lady of Loreto in Italy, etc. After suffering great damage during the Cultural Revolution, the church has slowly been restored; in 2000, a new statue of the Virgin and Child was installed over the main altar to replace one destroyed in 1976. On May 24th of 2008, which is also kept as the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, Pope Benedict XVI published a special prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan, which concludes as follows. “In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love. Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built. Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen.” (Note the Marian blue vestments!)

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