Ricci Venerated In China

Sculptures and statues that express a growing devotion to the priest and scientist Matteo Ricci, S.J., are appearing throughout China. At the Immaculate Concep-tion Cathedral in Beijing, a bronze image of Ricci in Mandarin robes dominates the courtyard. Commissioned in 2006, it has become a site of prayer for local Chinese and foreign visitors. Ricci, who arrived in China in 1582, is regarded as the founder of the Catholic Church in China. His tomb on the grounds of the Communist Party Training Academy in Beijing was revered and protected even during the Cultural Revolution. Known in China as Li Madou, Ricci is honored secularly as a great scientist and astronomer who brought Western technology to China and adopted Chinese culture. He has recently become a focus of intercessory prayer for reconciliation between Rome and Beijing. The cause for his beatification, begun in 1984, gained momentum in 2011, the 400th anniversary of his death.

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Photo by Michael O'Loughlin
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