Convoked by Pope Benedict XVI, an event of solidarity with the suffering of Christians in China and unity with the pope. In Prato it will also emphasize the mission of Chinese immigrants in the city with activities and a procession in "Chinatown."

Rome (AsiaNews) - At least 400 Chinese Catholics present in Italy are meeting tomorrow in Prato to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Church in China. Established in 2007 by Benedict XVI with his letter to the faithful in China, the day - usually celebrated on May 24th - coincides with the feast of Mary Help of Christians, venerated at the National Shrine of Sheshan, about 40 km south-west from Shanghai (see photo).

Benedict XVI, in his letter, asks all Christians worldwide to pray and show "solidarity and concern" to the "past and present sufferings" of Chinese Catholics to help strengthen the unity among themselves and with the successor of Peter.

The organizers of the Day here in Italy wanted to add another goal: promoting missionary activity among their compatriots, and Prato's Chinese community is the largest in Italy.

The Day will be in effect a two day rally, in collaboration with the diocese of Prato. The program includes an opening Mass, May 5, celebrated by Msgr. Savio Hon Taifai, Secretary of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; several hours of missionary activities to raise awareness of the Christian community of Chinese immigrants in the city. In the evening, representatives of each Chinese Catholic community in Italy will share their life and work experiences with others to promote mutual cooperation. The next day, May 6, there will be a Mass presided by the Bishop of Prato to be followed by a procession in the neighborhoods of Prato's "Chinatown".

In previous years, the Chinese Catholic community in Italy celebrated the World Day of Prayer in different cities: Rome, Naples, Macerata, Rimini.