ondon-Based Catholic Association Organizing Pilgrimage

LONDON, MAY 15 (ZENIT.org-FIDES).- A London group plans to bring a
statue of Our Lady of Fatima to mainland China to help promote
missionary work.

The Faith and Truth in Mary All China Association (Fatima-C) is
organizing the pilgrimage in conjunction with the Tang Foundation, which
was started with the support of the late Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop
of Westminster. The Foundation was named after Archbishop Dominic Tang,
who died in exile in 1995.

Fatima-C's president, Michael Hutchings, told "Fides" that "it does not
matter where in China the statue arrives, we just want it to touch
Chinese soil." The three-foot-high statue of Our Lady of Fatima, dressed
in white and gold and wearing a crown, should not find it difficult to
enter China: foreign and Chinese citizens may import religious material
as long as they keep it with them and use it for personal devotion. But
Hutchings hopes that once the statue is in China, it will travel all
over, and that the pilgrimage, which is scheduled for October, will have
the Pope's blessing.

The idea of the pilgrimage is part of the Association's commitment to
evangelize. "We want to encourage the Chinese, especially the young
ones, to pray to Our Lady. These days young people are influenced by
materialism and secularism. It is time to offer spiritual answers and
realize that this life is only a pilgrimage."

Our Lady of Fatima has been known in China for many decades. Before the
communists took over in 1949, many Christian children were named after
one of the three shepherd children, Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco, who
saw the apparitions. Medals and holy pictures of Our Lady of Fatima were
found everywhere in China, and people were accustomed to make sacrifices
and pray for the conversion of sinners.

The devotion disappeared with the advent of the Cultural Revolution,
which banned all religious practices and destroyed images. In the
1980's, after a hesitant opening to the world on the part of China,
devotion to Our Lady of Fatima rekindled. Observers say this revival of
devotion is due, in part, to disillusion with both communism and
capitalism, and in part to curiosity about the "three secrets of


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