"Our Lady of Sheshan, support the work of those who in China, amidst the ordinary difficulties, keep believing, hoping, loving, that they may never be afraid of speaking of Jesus to the world and of the world to Jesus": this is a passage from the prayer drawn up by Pope Benedict XVI and published today at the Pontiff’s request, for a "day of prayer for the Church in China" to be launched in Italy as well. The date put forward is May 24th, "dedicated to the liturgical celebration of the Blessed Virgin, the Help of Christians, who is worshipped with great devotion in the Marian sanctuary of Sheshan in Shanghai", as written in a letter to all the Italian bishops by card. Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Bishops Conference. Quoting the words of card. Bertone, who voiced the Pope’s wish, card. Bagnasco adds that, "on the same Day, the Catholics of the whole world, especially those of Chinese origin, will show their fraternal solidarity with and zeal for you (the Chinese Catholics, editor’s note), asking the Lord of history for the gift of perseverance in the testimony, confident that your past and present sufferings for the Holy Name of Jesus and your fearless loyalty to His Vicar on earth will be rewarded, even if sometimes everything may seem to be a sad failure". The full text of the prayer is online at

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