Pope calls for loyalty from Chinese Catholics, spread word of God
VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Francis called on Chinese Catholics on Wednesday to affirm their loyalty to him and spread the word of God, and prayed that they be allowed to live in accordance with their faith.
"I invite the Catholics of the world to come together in prayer with their brothers and sisters in China for the grace to humbly and joyfully announce Christ... and be faithful to his Church and to Peter's successor," the Pope told 50,000 pilgrims at a weekly audience at St Peter's Square in the Vatican City
The Pope also called for prayer so that Chinese Catholics "can live their lives in the service of their country and their fellow citizens, in a way that is consistent with their faith."
The pontiff prayed to the Virgin Mary to give strength to Chinese Catholics ahead of a religious celebration on Friday, which draws fervent pilgrims to the Sheshan shrine in Shanghai in particular.