China to Dynamite Marian Shrine
TIANJIAJING, China, JUNE 21, 2007 (Zenit.org ).- The sanctuary of Our
Lady of Mount Carmel will be dynamited following a government decision
that the pilgrimage site is a place of illegal religious activity.
The Henan Province government will prevent the annual July 16
pilgrimage, which normally draws 40,000 pilgrims for the feast of Our
Lady of Mount Carmel, AsiaNews reported.
The shrine was built in 1903 by a priest from the Pontifical Institute
for Foreign Missions, Monsignor Stefano Scarsella, then apostolic
vicar to northern Henan. The shrine was meant to thank the Blessed
Virgin for preserving Christians from the dangers of the Boxer Rebellion.
The sanctuary lies in Tianjiajing, in the Diocese of Anyang, in a
scenic, mountainous area that some speculate will be used for a
commercial or government building.
The provincial government has mobilized 700 soldiers for military
exercises in the area since May 12, when the planned destruction was
announced. Roads leading to the shrine are closed and pedestrians who
go near the area are searched.
The faithful of the Diocese of Anyang, appealing through AsiaNews,
said: "We ask all our brothers and sisters in the Lord to pray for us
and spread our message to all the faithful of the world."