Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: march
We pray that the Church in China may persevere in its faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity.
China is the largest country by population in the world with 1.4 billion people. The percentage of Catholics is less than 0.1%. Living under strict restriction with little religious freedom, however, the Catholic community has shown incredible perseverance and vitality, who tried their best to keep communion with the universal Church by suffering all difficulties and persecutions. During the Easter of 2018, there were about 48,00 baptized. Young Catholics in China seek all means to deepen their faith and are actively present in the Church.
Just by reading news (which is often imbalanced), outsiders hardly understand the real situation of the Church in China. The often dualistic description of the Chinese church as “underground” and “official” is not only too simplistic but also very harmful. As Pope Benedict XVI clearly emphasized, there is only one Church in China, though it may exist in two ways due to certain very complicated reasons. The majority of both are living under persecution and yet remain faithful. The conflicts within the Church have created great confusion for believers and caused severe obstacles for evangelization. Pope Francis passionately invites the universal Church to pray for the church in China, that it may be more Catholic (united) and more Chinese at the same time.
Source: Apostleship of Prayer
Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: february
We pray that the cries of our migrant brothers and sisters, victims of criminal trafficking, may be heard and considered.
This is a familiar format for a children’s riddle. You knock, I ask, you reply.
It’s based on a simple action– someone knocks on my door and I ask, “Who is it?”
Is this a stranger? A friend? A criminal? Who is knocking?
We’re right to be curious. And it’s ok to ask questions. But should we automatically be suspicious? What if this is a friend, or someone who needs my help?
This February, Pope Francis asks us to hear the cries of migrants. After all, we shouldn’t bolt the door until we know who is knocking, right? He writes, “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age” (Pope Francis, Message for the 2018 World Day of Migrants and Refugees).
After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with their child. They escape from King Herod who searches for the child “to destroy him” [Matt 2:13]. After this danger passes, the Holy Family returns to their homeland. They were refugees only temporarily. Perhaps they knocked on an unfamiliar door seeking shelter. Imagine Joseph offering to work in exchange for food and housing. Knock knock. “Who’s there?
Modern migration is a complex issue. A humane response requires compassion, wisdom, and cooperation from citizens, churches, police, and government leaders. If we shut our ears and lock the doors of our hearts, then we will never hear the cries of the poor seeking protection and opportunity. Jesus says, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Who is knocking at our door? How will we respond?
Source: Apostleship of Prayer - Fr. Joseph Laramie, SJ