Someone I know who visited China this past summer told me that she saw construction workers over there and added "I wouldn't want to be in anything that was built" after noting their lack of safety concerns. Even the workers' safety was greatly compromised. They were using bamboo scaffolds at great heights, for example.
We had this conversation before the earthquake and yesterday I asked her again about her visit. Her eyes teared up thinking about the magnitude of what happened over there. Unlike myself, who has never been to China, for her it's a place she's visited, seen and touched.
When I first started this blog, I found out it was blocked in China because it was Catholic and that was a concrete lesson in the extent of the oppression faced by Catholics in China. I've prayed for my Chinese Catholic readers ever since.
I found this article about Catholicism in China by John Allen from the National Catholic Reporter , which discusses the growth of religion in China, including Catholicism and Protestanism and the factors affecting it. China is the third largest Christian nation in the world and, despite the fact that Catholics are still persecuted there, they number 12 million. A Catholic is not an easy thing to be in China - they are divided against each other politically. And as much as Protestanism has grown, Allen discusses reasons why being Catholic in China is so difficult.
The events in China come at us from photos, video clips and news stories and commentaries may seem far away and distant to many of us. Our brothers and sisters whose lives are far more difficult than ours as they try to practice their faith, need our prayers right now, as do all of the Chinese people.
For a list of agencies that are helping with disaster relief, please click here.