Diocesan News

Brooklyn Parishioners to Join in Global Prayers for Church in China

Vincentian Father Joseph Lin, parochial vicar of the Basilica of Regina Pacis in Dyker Heights, stands with the Chinese members of the parish after a Chinese New Year gathering this year. (Photo: Courtesy of Father Lin)

WASHINGTON — No one needs to remind Vincentian Father Joseph Lin to pray for Catholics in his homeland of China, but he is glad the Catholic Church has a day specifically set aside for this intention.

“We prayer for unity,” that the Catholic Church in China would be united with the universal Church and Chinese Catholics would see that “that they are not alone, and their suffering is the seed of faith for others,” said the parochial vicar of Basilica of Regina Pacis in Bensonhurst, a parish with about 200 Chinese members — almost double what it was a few years ago.

May 24 is the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, a day announced by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. The pope asked that the day be dedicated to Our Lady Help of Christians which is venerated at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.

The parish community of Regina Pacis will be gathering for an evening prayer service May 24 to join their prayers with the worldwide Church for Catholics in China. Many parishioners are immigrants from China, as is Father Lin, who came to the U.S. in 2008 to study here after he was ordained.

He said those who were baptized in China have a strong Catholic background because many had been in the underground Church and remained devoted and faithful in the midst of challenges.

Chinese Catholics pray the rosary at a small shrine outside a church in Sheshan, about 19 miles from downtown Shanghai in 2001. (Photo: CNS/Reuters)

The priest and his parishioners do their part to reach out to others in the local Chinese community by joining together in cleaning up local neighborhoods which he said is a way to “be a living Gospel” with not only doing a service project but providing moments for conversation with those who see them.

He said the experience of meeting other people while they are on these clean-up missions provides an opportunity for him to listen to those who might be interested in the Church but don’t know much about it.

The parish, which has a Mass in Mandarin as well as Masses in English, Spanish, and Italian, aims to help the Chinese parishioners feel welcome in the Church as part of their family, Father Lin said, with Chinese festivals and celebrations.

And the Day of Prayer for the Church in China is something he encourages the whole parish to be involved in, emphasizing that “we are one family, one Church, one faith. We help one another to live our faith.”

A flier from the Basilica of Regina Pacis in Dyker Heights with an image of Our Lady of Sheshan for the evening Taizé prayer service May 24 on the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China.