San Francisco archbishop to Host Holy Hour for Jimmy Lai, jailed Hong Kong activist

(Image by Studio Incendo via Wikimedia Commons)Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protest, August 18, 2019.

The plight of imprisoned Chinese Catholic media magnate Jimmy Lai, who is standing trial, will be highlighted at a Holy Hour at the Archdiocese of San Francisco's seminary on May 8.

Hong Kong entrepreneur, democracy activist, and Roman Catholic convert Jimmy Lai is currently held in prison and in solitary confinement for speaking out against the communist government, the National Catholic Register reported.

Lai, aged 76, is on trial in Hong Kong on charges of breaching national security and colluding with foreign forces.

He is on trial on two conspiracy charges of collusion with foreign forces and a third of conspiracy to print and distribute seditious publication, according to the South China Morning Post.

Lai denies all the charges and has been held in jail since December 2020. Lai faces life in prison if he is found guilty, the BBC reported.

The self-made millionaire was arrested under a security law that China is accused of using to crush dissent.

His case has caused an international outcry and is widely seen as a test of Hong Kong's judicial independence.

"As an entrepreneur who arrived in Hong Kong penniless, Jimmy Lai was always an inherently interesting man," The Wall Street Journal's William McGurn told the Register.

"But he became an inspiration by accepting a prison cell instead of fleeing to one of his homes abroad because he believed that was his obligation. It's what we mean by picking up our cross. It is now clear this is Jimmy's moment, his destiny."


So, on May 8 at 5 p.m., McGurn will join Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and the seminarians at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California, for a special Holy Hour honoring the sacrifice of heroic Christians like Lai.

The prayer service will feature a newly commissioned Hymn for the Martyrs of Chinese Communism, followed by a lecture on "The Prison Witness of Jimmy Lai," delivered by McGurn, who is Lai's godfather.

Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka, director of the Catholic Institute of Sacred Music will speak about Lai during the Holy Hour.

"The situation of Catholics is grim in China, and I'm afraid the Vatican's secret deal a few years back has made it worse. But the people are tremendously faithful under very trying circumstances," observed McGurn.

"In San Francisco, you have a large Chinese community. I would like them to know the heroism of a fellow Chinese languishing in solitary confinement in Hong Kong and to pray for a better day."

McGurn also noted that Lai is grateful for the support of those from the United States.

"I know from Jimmy Lai's letters to me that he is so humbled to think people he does not know and will never meet are praying for him," McGurn said. "Believe me, he draws strength from this."

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