Vatican City, 20 May 2015 (VIS) – Following today's catechesis, the Pope remarked that on 24 May Catholics in China pray with devotion to Mary Most Holy, Help of Christians, venerated in the Sheshan shrine in Shanghai. “In the statue above the Shrine, Mary holds her Son aloft, presenting Him to the world with His arms open in a gesture of love and mercy. We too ask Mary to help Catholics in China always to be credible witnesses of this merciful love among their people and to live spiritually united with the rock of Peter upon which the Church is built”.
The Holy Father also mentioned the initiative of the Italian Episcopal Conference, which has proposed that the dioceses, on the occasion of the Eve of Pentecost, remember the many brothers and sisters exiled or killed for the mere fact of being Christians. “They are martyrs. I hope that this moment of prayer may help spread the knowledge that religious freedom is an inalienable human right and raise awareness of the tragedy of Christians persecuted in our time, and bring an end to this unacceptable crime”.