Church in Shanghai

By Chiara Jiang*

Nov 3 2020

Due to the pandemic, the number of Masses has increased so that fewer participants attend and approach the communion. Non-Christians often visit, especially young people. The seed of faith never dies, whatever soil receives it.

SHANGHAI – The Solemnity of All Saints, celebrated yesterday, was an unforgettable moment for the Church in Shanghai.

Given the unstable situation caused by the pandemic, it is difficult to ensure regular operations in the various parishes. However, in Shanghai, taking part in Sunday Mass was already possible in July, obviously with fewer worshippers but more daily Masses to give all Christians an opportunity for communion.

Yesterday, St Ignatius Cathedral (the Catholic church in Xujiahui) was packed with believers beyond belief. Groups of people prayed first in front of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, and then entered the cathedral to wait for Mass.

When we arrived at the cathedral, the previous Mass had just ended. Every Sunday, four Masses are performed and each always has hundreds of worshippers.

The 10 am Mass started right on time. The celebrants headed towards the altar, accompanied by the sweet melody of the choir and the pipe organ.

My heart was pounding with feelings. I looked around and saw old people, young people, mothers and fathers with their children. As an international metropolis, Shanghai is home to Chinese and foreigners, but before God we are all his children, without distinction.

Inside the Cathedral, a solemn yet familiar atmosphere reigned. When they stood to pray, many worshippers kept their hands joined at the level of their heart, their head slightly lowered, an almost innate gesture, engraved in the depths of everyone’s soul.

During the Eucharistic blessing, the assembly knelt in silence, their gaze turned to the altar, as if to fix hope and trust on Christ. Many were moved by the presence of the Eucharist.

Chinese Catholics have great faith. But non-believers have also shown a keen interest. Many people often arrive, especially young people, to visit places of worship. It is noted that the seed of faith never dies, whatever soil receives it.

Had Jesus Christ come as far as the Far East during his years of preaching, I think he would have come with the same mercy and love that he showed the people of Jerusalem, forgiving all sinners and behaving as he did in the encounter with the adulterous woman.

Perhaps he would not have condemned the “doctors” who were in power and who sought to eliminate the threat posed by Christ, nor Pontius Pilate who sentenced him to death.

* A. is a young baptised woman living in Shanghai. – AsiaNews