Praying for China – the Irish Connection

May 25, 2021 in Featured News, News

The Irish Provincial, Fr Leonard Moloney SJ, has asked for prayers for Stephen Chow SJ, who did his novitiate and philosophy studies in Ireland and who is to become the new Bishop of Hong Kong.

Fr Moloney sent warm congratulations to Stephen on behalf of the Jesuits, colleagues, and friends in the Irish Province, and he asks them all to pray for Stephen from Sunday 23 May through to Sunday 30 May, 2021, which is the Global Week of Prayer for China.

“We share our joy as we unite with Fr Stephen Chow SJ and pray in particular for the people whom he will serve,” said the Provincial. He added: “In the light of  Fr Stephen Chow SJ being announced as the new Bishop of Hong Kong we are kindly asking you to use this coming week as a way of praying for Bishop-Elect Stephen Chow SJ, China and his new mission in Hong Kong.”

Replying to the Provincial, Bishop-Elect Stephen recalled fondly how his Jesuit life began in Ireland. He said he has received messages of encouragement from Irish Jesuits and his contemporaries, many of whom were no longer Jesuits. He noted that all their words were a source of consolation to him.

“Thank you very much for your prayers and encouraging words,” he wrote; “I really need prayers for wisdom, courage, humility, patience, and compassion.”


His Eminence Charles Cardinal Bo, as president of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences, recently issued a letter proposing a global week of prayer for the “Church and Peoples of China.”

He stated that underlying his action is the principle affirming the “inviolable dignity of the human person.” The Cardinal asked the faithful worldwide to dedicate the week of May 23 to 30, 2021, for this intention.

The Cardinal is the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to make a call to prayer for China since 2007, when Pope Benedict XVI designated May 24, the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, as the annual worldwide day of prayer for the Church in China.

Cardinal Bo expanded that papal prayer initiative to a full week and to all Chinese peoples, noting “It is right that we should pray not only for the Church but for all persons in the Peoples’ Republic of China.”

Elaborating on the need for this week of prayer, he stated, “I am expressing my love for the peoples of China, my respect for their ancient civilization and extraordinary economic growth, and my hopes that as it continues to rise as a global power, it may become a force for good and a protector of the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized in the world.”

Quoting Pope Francis that there is a deep-seated “hunger for happiness that only God can satisfy, the hunger for dignity,” Cardinal Bo emphasized, “I am calling for prayer for each person in China that they may seek and realize the full measure of happiness that our Creator has given them.”

The Cardinal explained that, though many are facing challenges worldwide, “in a spirit of solidarity” it is right to pray for others, since our well-being is linked.

He selflessly called for the China Prayer at a moment when Myanmar, where he is the Archbishop of Yangon, was experiencing a military coup and his own cathedral was surrounded by gunfire.

The FABC is a voluntary federation of 19 episcopal conference members and eight associate members, throughout Asia. It was formed with the approval of the Vatican. It includes the Bishops Conferences of Hong Kong and Macau, though not of mainland China.

An informal coalition of lay Christians from six continents have joined together to facilitate a response to Cardinal Bo’s Global Call for Prayer for the Church and Peoples of China.