Pilgrims Flock to Save Taiyuan’s Shrine from Demolition

09/17/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is celebrated on September 15 every year by Chinese Catholics – Thousands of faithful would come on pilgrimage to Dongergou, near Taiyuan in Shanxi province, to the shrine of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows.

Asia News reports that this year, in addition to reasons of faith, the pilgrims were further concerned by news that the local government wants to destroy the solemn door of the sanctuary, called ” Heaven’s Gate” because it says that it is too high.

Other reports claim the local government’s plan is to build a highway through the area. The statues that adorn the Gate have already been removed, in the name of “Sinicization,” an attempt of Beijing to put religion under the government’s control.

A while ago the news spread that the government wanted to destroy the entire sanctuary. With “Sinicization” campaign, many churches have already been defaced, crosses torn from bell towers, domes destroyed. Another shrine in Guizhou risks destruction.

On Monday, the pilgrimage took place amid large security measures, in the presence of the police, but everything happened in a quiet way. No priest, except those from the Diocese of Taiyuan, was allowed to concelebrate or preside over a mass. Many faithful climbed to their knees on the steps to Heaven’s Gate.

The shrine of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows was built nearly a century ago, in 1924. ” Heaven’s Gate” overlooks a long zigzag path on the mountain interspersed with the Stations of the Cross. From “Heaven’s Gate ” pilgrims contemplate the sanctuary that partly recalls the structure of the Temple of Paradise in Beijing. Every year, on September 15, tens of thousands of pilgrims flock from all over China to celebrate the feast.

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