In a sea of World Youth Day pilgrims, dozens from mainland China
Published: July 15, 2008
SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) -- In brilliant winter sunshine the old docklands at Barrangaroo became a moving sea of national flags unfurling above the heads of the 150,000 pilgrims who had come from different corners of the earth to celebrate one faith and liturgy. Among the flags was one from China: About 60 pilgrims from mainland China attended World Youth Day in Sydney. Among them were priests not registered with the Chinese government who, for the first time in their lives, wore the black and white collar that identifies them as a Catholic priest. The Chinese pilgrims said they were ecstatic to be in Sydney. "We can feel the Holy Spirit working upon us," said one young woman. "All our young people feel the hand of God moving on them, healing them and making them stronger." The pilgrims agreed to talk to Catholic News Service July 15, as World Youth Day opened, only if their real names were not used. Father Li Jinxing said that for the first 20 years of his life, he had never met a priest. "Priests were heroic figures, heard about but never seen," said Father Li, who said the Catholic faith was practiced secretly in his home under threat of government persecution. "Parents and grandparents kept the faith strong."
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