Archbishop leads prayer for persecuted Christians in Hong Kong

Catholics gathered on May 7 and 8 to pray for the persecuted Church in Hong Kong and China.

On May 7, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone led Solemn Vespers and a Eucharistic Holy Hour at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. Speaking on what it means to be truly free, the Archbishop explained in his homily that Cardinal Zen, Jimmy Lai, and so many others show a radical witness to the price of freedom.

“Freedom isn’t simply doing whatever I want,” said Archbishop Cordileone. “Freedom is being given the right to do what is right, what is on behalf of the truth, even when that comes with a price, even when that comes with suffering.”

Obedience to conscience, continued the Archbishop, allows a person to have interior freedom even if one is deprived of external freedom—and that interior freedom is something no one is able to take away.

“Let us continue to keep them in our prayers,” he said. “They are far away from us. Jimmy and others are removed completely from society. We cannot be physically close to them, even to communicate with them—but we can be spiritually close through our prayer, through the love we have in our hearts for them and the esteem with which we hold them.”

On May 8, St. Patrick Seminary hosted a Holy Hour sponsored by the Benedict XVI Institute and a lecture by William McGurn, opinion columnist for the Wall Street Journal. McGurn is also Jimmy Lai’s Godfather.

The evening began with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the premiere of a musical  composition by Frank La Rocca on a text by James Matthew Wilson, “Stanzas for the Chinese Martyrs,” commissioned by the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship.

Following the Holy Hour, McGurn delivered a lecture entitled “The Prison Witness of Jimmy Lai” highlighting the heroic witness of Jimmy and his family in standing up for freedom in Hong Kong.

Jimmy Lai,  the founder of the popular Hong Kong paper Apple Daily, has now been imprisoned in for organizing pro-democracy protests.