At first there were just a couple of them, then a dozen, now there are a few hundred. No other religion in China is growing faster than Christianity – despite the continuing oppression. By now there are over 100 million Christians among the 1.3 billion Chinese people.

Somewhere in the vast reaches of China these friends of ours live and pray – friends we cannot name for the sake of their own safety. Their dearest wish is to have a larger chapel, and better still a proper church, where they can kneel, pray and sing before the Lord and celebrate Holy Mass together.

For now they continue to meet in various different places, in family homes or in empty houses. But all these places have become far too small for this growing community and are restricting its growth. The secret yearning of the faithful is that their church should become a mission centre.

For despite all the subtle, and often less than subtle persecution, everybody knows that the Christians are a stabilising element within society – and as a result the authorities sometimes turn a blind eye, even in godless China. We have promised to support them so that they can build this church, the future centre of the mission station.

This article can be found in Mirror 0316.