Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. - What can only be described as a supernatural celestial phenomenon was witnessed by about 30,000 underground Catholics on May 23, 1995. These faithful had gathered at the Marian Shrine of Dong Lu in the Province of Hebei, China to attend a Holy Mass concelebrated by four underground bishops and about 90 underground priests in an openfield. On two occasions in the Mass, during the opening prayer of the Mass and the consecration of the Holy Eucharist, the loyal and suffering congregation witnessed and was comforted by a supernatural celestial phenomenon of the sun in motion.
As described by several witnesses, the sun suddenly lost its overpowering brightness so that those gathered could look directly at the sun with ease. The sun spun alternatively to the right and to the left. The central core of the sun seemed to have its circumference surrounded by layers of pinkish hue while the core became bluish purple. Rays of various colors emanated from the sun. With the passing of the minutes, the core changed colors, first to yellow, then white, and followed by other colors. Subsequently, depending on the individual, people saw one of four apparitions in the core of the sun: a holy cross, the Holy Family, Holy Mary holding the infant Jesus, and the Holy Eucharist. At times, the sun would approach the crowd and then retreat. The shape also changed from a circular mass to a deep spiral cone. Transfixed, the loyal, underground Catholics then watched as seven to eight small circular masses traveled out of the cone. People were heard crying out: "Holy Mother, please forgive my sins", "Holy Mother, have pity on us, your children", and other expressions.
The phenomenon was such that as people witnessed the changing colors of the sun, the whole congregation spontaneously shouted and applauded with joy at the change of each color: "Purple...Yellow...White...Red". This phenomenon lasted about twenty minutes when, followed by a sudden white ray, the sky returned to normal.
This phenomenon happened on the vigil of the feastday of the Mary, Help of Christians. On this day, we specially pray for perpetual help in a miraculous way from Mary victory over the evil one.
Dong Lu is the site of one of two famous Marian shrines in China. While the national shrine of our Lady of Sheshan in Shanghai is unfortunately now controlled by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), the shrine at Dong Lu remains firmly with the loyal underground Roman Catholic Church. With exceptions during the Cultural Revolution, every May since 1924, Catholic have journeyed from all areas of China to Dong Lu to pray before the Holy Mother of Christ.
Since the communists came to power in China, every obstacle has been deployed to stop this annual pilgrimage. However, tens of thousands of people brave the elements, physical abuses, and roadblocks to pay their respects. Without exception, all roads leading to Dong Lu were blocked by the government as were tickets being selectively sold to only officially deemed non-Catholics for all modes of transportation to Dong Lu and neighboring towns. Those caught driving to Dong Lu would have their driver's license revoked. Yet, multitudes of the loyal underground Catholics arrived at Dong Lu.
The underground Roman Catholic Church is loyal to the Pope, and has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist government since 1949. These persecutions still continue today. The Roman Catholic Church is illegal in China and is commonly referred to as the underground (loyal, clandestine, and suffering) Roman Catholic Church.
In contrast, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) was established by an atheistic Chinese Communist Government. It continues to reject the Pope's authority and is not recognized by the Roman Pontiff. All CCPA bishops are appointed by the Chinese Government and are ordained without the Pope's approval.
Traditionally in the Roman Catholic Church, the month of May is dedicated to the Holy Mother Mary. In union with other Roman Catholics worldwide, underground Chinese Catholics pray to Mary. For the entire month of May, well over one hundred thousand people knelt and prayed around the clock before the statue of Holy Mary in Dong Lu. After 40 years of religious persecution under the Communist government, they could no longer control their emotions and their love for Mary. Many cried openly and poured their hearts out to Mary, because they had finally come home and knelt at the feet of their Mother Mary. They were desperate for Mary's intercession. They prayed privately such as:
"Mother of the Church and queen of China. Have pity on your children! Keep the suffering Church in China in your heart, show solicitude for our sufferings, our weaknesses, and our needs. Do not leave us. Protect and direct us so that we may not fall into the snares of the devil. Grant us the courage to continue our struggle. Dear Mother, we beg you to look after the Church in China."
It would appear that the Holy Mother this year has answered their prayers as she has answered every year in different ways, and rewarded the faithful, who traveled amidst great sacrifice and risk, with a spectacular, supernatural statement in the sky.