The day before Mother’s Day is the feast day of Our Lady of China, the name given to Mary when she appeared to God’s beloved children in Donglu, China in 1900: “…A woman in white appeared above the settlement, and the rioters’ bullets were aimed at her. When the apparition did not fade, attackers had not even time to reorganize because a strange horseman put them to flight.” The Mother of Christ appeared in China showing herself as the protector and defender for helpless and the righteous. Mary hopes for a China that could become a shiny beacon of light, a nation where the family is valued, where all Life is protected and the Chinese people have the right to freely worship the great God Almighty.
Soon after they had disappeared beyond the horizon, Father Wu, a Chinese priest, confessed to his flock that he invoked the help of Mary. A new church was built on the site and Father Wu placed a picture of Our Lady on the main altar. He asked the painter to dress Our Lady in the royal robes of the dowager Empress Tzi-Hsi. The image of the Blessed Virgin in the royal robes of the pagan Empress, with the Christ Child on her knees, is vivid expression of Chinese tradition. It is a shrine of the Mother and her Son. Though her robes are pagan, she belongs to every age, to all people and to every race.
An officially-sanctioned image of Our Lady of China was blessed, granted and promulgated by Pope Pius XI in 1928, in response to the requests made by the 1924 Shanghai Synod of Bishops in China, the first national conference of bishops in the country. Following the event, Archbishop Celso Costantini, Apostolic Delegate in China, along with all the bishops of China, declared the Chinese people dedicated to Our Lady of China, using the official image. In 1941, Pope Pius XII designated the feast day of Our Lady of China as an official feast day in the Catholic liturgical calendar. In 1973, following the Second Vatican Council, the Chinese Bishops conference, upon approval from the Holy See, placed the feast day on the day before Mother’s Day.
This year, the Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission celebrates the Feast Day of Our Lady of China on Mother’s Day, May 14, 2023. Holy Mass begins at 10:30 am.