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Upcoming feast of 120 Holy Chinese Martyrs

By our own correspondent

Rome, 3 July 2020 -- The liturgical feast of China's Catholic Martyrs (July 9) - St. Augustin Zhao and Companions - is coming soon. We celebrate the 120 Catholic canonized martyrs killed between 1633 and 1930. This is a good occasion to know a little bit more the history and present of the third largest Catholic community in Asia - after the Philippines and India. This is also a good inspiration to pray for the current needs and challenges of our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ who are living in the most populous country in the world.

How can you pray for somebody, whom you don't know well?

Here is a short list of the main Catholic research centres and news agencies that can help you to pray better on a daily basis with many stories.

  • Germany: SVD Research Center - China Zentrum
  • Germany: China Zentrum: E-Journal in English, German, Chinese
  • Hong Kong Holy Spirit Study Center
  • Hong Kong: Holy Spirit Study Center - Tripod magazine
  • China Bridge - deeper insights in to China Church
  • Asia New: news on China Catholic Church (ITA,ENG,ESP,CIN)
  • UCANEWS (Union of Catholic Asia News)
  • SEDOS (Documentation center about global mission)
  • Catholic dioceses of China

  • Some basic data about the Catholic Church in China (cf. Official statistics 2019, by China Zentrum, SVD - Germany, May 2020)

    • Catholics are 0.46% of population, Protestants 2.06%, Islam 0.50% and Buddhists 8.96% vs. Without religious faith 87.1% 
    • Statistics distinguish the 'open' religious adherents (officially registered) and non registered adherents 
    • Buddhists: 34,100 registered sites for religious activities, 222,000 Buddhist monks and nuns; 41 Buddhist academies
    • Daoism: 8,349 registered sites for religious activities, 40,000 religious personnel, 10 Daoist academies
    • Islam: 35.000 registered sites (mosques), 57,000 religious personnel and 10 Qur'an institutes
    • Protestants: 60,000 churches (places of worship), 14,000 pastors, 28,000 preachers or 57.000 relig.personnel, 22 seminaries

    Catholics in PRC (People's Republic of China)

    • Faithful: 10 million (two millions less than 10 years ago; fast diminishing trend), 6 million members of official Church bodies
    • Adult baptism: 40,000-50,000 every year,Priestly ordination: 48 deacons ordained priests in 2019 (lowest number in years)
    • Dioceses: 96 or 98 according the official church, 146 ecclesiastic regions (Catholic hierarchy in 1950) - 40 dioceses without bishop
    • Bishops: 78 active (in office) - 62 in the official church and 16 in the non-official church (total 100 - including the retired bishops)
    • Priests: 4,950 (both official and non-registered clergy)
    • Seminaries: 12 major seminaries - 470 seminarians (6 - official church, 370 students and 6 unofficial church; 100 students)
    • Sisters relig: 4630 Sisters (3270 in official Church, 87 diocesan congregations; 1360 in underground Church - 40 congregations) Churches: 6000 churches and oratories

    Catholics in Hong Kong (SAR)
    403,000 Catholics (local population) + 183,000 Filipinos/Filipinas and 34,000 other foreign Catholics

    After the invitation of Pope Francis to pray for the China Catholic community (prayer intention for March 2020), also two days ago the president of FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences) Card. Charles Bo, SDB requested all Asia Bishops to pray for Hong Kong and for the whole of China:

    Asia’s top cardinal says Hong Kong security law puts religious liberty at risk










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