Changing times for Marian devotions across China

Catholics do not worship Mary. They walk with her to follow Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father

Michel Chambon 
December 9, 2019

A painting of the Virgin Mary and an image of Jesus are seen during a Mass at the South Cathedral in Beijing. (Photo: AFP)

Over the past few years, many Catholic parishes in China have repaired or renewed the courtyard that usually surrounds their church. In this semi-private outdoor space where churchgoers can hang out and children play, there is always a place where a statue of Mary stands.

In most places, though, this site of devotion is a grotto enshrining a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. The typical white silhouette with a blue ribbon shines from an elevated niche surrounded by rocks and greens.

If it intends to be a replica of the famous grotto at Lourdes, southern France, where Bernadette Soubirous saw the bright vision of Mary Immaculate in 1858, it also recalls how the French clergy had an overwhelming impact on the Church in modern China and how Chinese Catholics struggle to differentiate themselves from Protestants.

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