by Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — May the Year of Mercy be a time for Catholics and people of other religious traditions in China to be concrete signs of charity and reconciliation, Pope Francis said.
That way, “they will promote an authentic culture of encounter and harmony for all of society — that harmony that the Chinese spirit loves dearly,” he said after praying the Angelus with people gathered in St. Peter’s Square May 22.
The pope’s prayer came ahead of the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which is observed each year on the feast of Our Lady of Help of Christians, May 24. It is on that day that Catholics in China invoke Mary, venerated at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan, near Shanghai.
The pope prayed that Mary would offer “her children in China the ability to discern in every situation the signs of the loving presence of God, who always welcomes and always forgives.”
“In this Year of Mercy, may Chinese Catholics, together with all those who follow other noble religious traditions, become concrete signs of charity and reconciliation,” he said.
Before leading the noonday prayer on the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the pope talked about the Holy Spirit’s role in the context of the Trinity.
Jesus does not abandon humanity after his death and resurrection “because his mission will be extended with the Holy Spirit,” who will guide the church as it goes forward, the pope said.
“Above all, the Spirit leads us to understand the many things that Jesus still has to say,” he said. It’s not a question of “new or special doctrines, but a full understanding of all that the son heard from the father and made known to the disciples.”
The Spirit guides the people of God so they can face new situations “with their gaze on Jesus and at the same time open to events and the future.”
The Holy Spirit helps humanity stay firmly rooted in the Gospel while also being actively faithful to its Catholic traditions and customs, the pope said.
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