Photo: Marian Archives
Benedict XVI Prays for China's Quake Victims
VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2008 (Zenit.org).— Noting the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, Pope Benedict XVI again expressed his spiritual support for the victims of the earthquake in that Asian nation. After praying the midday Angelus with thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square today, the Pope said, "I greet the Chinese-speaking pilgrims who have come to Rome from all over Italy on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China.
"I entrust to God's mercy all of your countrymen who died in the earthquake that recently struck a vast area of your homeland. I renew my personal nearness to those who are experiencing hours of anxiety and tribulation. Thanks to the fraternal solidarity of all, the populations of these zones can soon return to the normality of daily life."
The Holy Father declared May 24 the World Day of Prayer in his 2007 letter to Chinese Catholics.
China endured another aftershock today, the strongest of the series of aftershocks that continues to hamper relief efforts since the original May 12 quake. The death toll could surpass 80,000, as rescue efforts to find the missing continue. At least two died in today's aftershock.
The Pontiff said: "Together with you I ask Mary, Help of Christians, Our Lady of Sheshan, to support 'the efforts of those who, among their daily toil, continue to believe, to hope, to love so that they never fear to speak of Jesus to the world and of the world to Jesus,' ever remaining 'credible witnesses' of his love and 'keeping themselves united with the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.'"
The Fides news agency reported that the Chinese living in the earthquake zone celebrated Saturday's World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, setting up makeshift chapels in tents.