File photo of Chinese Catholics in Shanghai in March 2018 File photo of Chinese Catholics in Shanghai in March 2018 

China’s Catholics expand charitable works ahead of Christmas

As the celebration of the birth of Christ draws near, Catholics in China’s capital are reaching out to those in need in a sign of Christian love and hope.

By Vatican News staff reporter

The Catholic community in Beijing celebrated the Third Sunday of Advent with a festival of lights in their parishes, finally able to gather together after the latest Covid-19 lockdown.

They lit their flames of hope with great joy as the feast of Christmas drew near.

Among these various parish communities was Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which saw parishioners fill its outdoor courtyard in the early evening holding candles as a sign of the coming light of Christ.

The “Teodorico Pedrini” parish choir filled the event with song. The choir takes its name from a famed Italian missionary and author of sacred hymns (1671-1746) who founded the parish church and lived there as he ministered during the Qing imperial dynasty.

According to Fides news agency, the candlelight ceremony offered a powerful sign of the joy of the Christian message to all those who live near the parish.

Visiting the elderly

Catholics in China, as elsewhere, have stepped up their charitable works toward those in need during this Advent season.

On the feast of St. Francis Xavier, the patron of the mission in China, members of the Caritas outfit in Aozhen parish, in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia, visited a local retirement home.

The group was led by Fr. Qiqigeli and several religious sisters, and brought gifts to the elderly residents living there. They also brought medical supplies and a listening ear.

At the end of the day, Fr. Qiqigeli blessed the residents and the staff who accompany them.

Offering financial support

Another parish group helping fill their neighbors with Christmas cheer is the Ecclesial Base Community of Yong Nian Parish, in the Diocese of Shanghai.

For 16 years, the group has sought to put the social doctrine of the Church into practice by combining faith and charitable works.

On 4 December, the Base Community celebrated a liturgy under the theme: “Along the path of the Beatitudes”.

The group has also intensified their charitable efforts by donating blood and visiting the elderly and the sick.

They combine these single works of charity with a long-term effort to financially support the construction of the Bishop’s House, a diocesan formation center, an orphanage, and the restauration of churches in dioceses across China. (Source: Fides News Agency)

14 December 2021, 11:22