Print Version    Email to Friend
Nine Holy Doors open in Taiyuan

TAIYUAN (AsiaNews): “Catholics in the Diocese of Taiyuan hope to undergo conversion during the Jubilee of Mercy, starting with caring for their parents and grandparents, then their neighbours and the needy, guided by the light of holy martyrs of our diocese,” local Bishop Meng Ningyou in Shanxi province said in December at the beginning of the Jubilee of Mercy.

In speaking of the scores of martyrs the area produced in 1900 who were canonised by Pope John Paul II in 2000, he said that the diocese decided to open Holy Doors in nine churches—the cathedral, three pilgrimage sites and a number of churches located in the martyrs’ birthplaces.

The doors in the nine churches will all be opened by February 2, the feast day of the Presentation of the Lord, which marks the end of the Year of Consecrated Life around the world.

Up until January 20, Bishop Meng had opened six Holy Doors and two more were set to be opened on the January 23 and 30 with the last the Church of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows in Dong’ergou on February 2.

Bishop Meng said that he was moved at every one of the ceremonies, as he witnessed the participation and enthusiasm of thousands of people.

“I was touched when opening the door at the Pontiuncula Church on Bansishan (Bansi Hill) on January 13. More than 10,000 Catholics, coming on foot or in long lines of vehicles braved the freezing weather of minus 16 degrees Celsius at the pilgrimage site,” he said. The Bansishan is 1,760 metres above sea level and situated at 100 kilometres from the city of Taiyuan.

The 53-year-old bishop says that mercy requires a person to convert and transform their actions. “Today, people’s lives are under pressure, indifferent to others’ needs, giving less attention to their parents and neighbours,” he said.

He added that for this reason he is urging people to live mercy within their own families, to forgive and take care of the needy and the sick. “This adds more warmth to society as well as our small Church community,” he noted.

In addition, the bishop plans to encourage people to become blood donors, as the local supply always drops during the winter months.

Bishop Meng hopes that the Jubilee of Mercy will motive Catholics to spread love and compassion for others in the communities within which they live. This way, their actions will attract more people to come to the Church and learn about Christianity.

The opening of the Holy Door of the Cathedral on December 13 drew about 6,000 people, while other churches attracted around 2,000 to 3,000 each time.

The bishop said that as the churches commemorate the love and sacrifices of the Catholic martyrs, “I hope our people will be inspired by the martyrs’ faith and love of God when they enter the churches through the Holy Doors.”

One of the nine churches, the Church of Our Lady of Rosary in Xinzhou, was granted the authority to offer plenary indulgences by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

Taiyuan has a Catholic population of around 100,000. Sixty-one active priests and 30 sisters serve in the various communities.


More from this section