Chinese Catholics attend a mass on Holy Saturday, part of Easter celebrations at Beijing’s government sanctioned South Cathedral on Mar 31, 2018. Chinese Catholics are taking part in Easter celebrations as China and the Vatican continue talks on a historic agreement on the appointment of bishops in China (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)

Fr Giuseppe Zhao Hongchun echoed Pope Francis’ call for 2024 as the Year of Prayer in anticipation of the 2025 Jubilee.

In his message to the faithful, the priest stressed the need to draw inspiration from daily life for repentance, prayer, and love. 

Fr Zhao encouraged Catholics to “dedicate ourselves to prayer throughout the year,” adding that the Lenten Season marks the beginning of the Year of Prayer, “rediscovering its central place in life faithful.” 

“For us, waiting for the arrival of the Jubilee is a time of dedication to repentance, redemption, the awakening of prayer, and the testimony of love,” he said.

Reflecting on Pope Francis’s call to daily prayer, Fr Zhao urged a shift from a Church of ‘singing’ to ‘prayer’, cautioning against the dangers of externalized singing. He advocated for a profound connection with God through authentic prayer.

He said, “Externalized ‘singing’ tends to make us fall into the danger of performing, of pretending and listening only to ourselves, without being able to place ourselves fully and completely before God and abandon ourselves to his gaze.” 


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