By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As part of this message to Catholics in China and worldwide, published Sept. 26, Pope Francis offered the following prayer, inviting everyone to join him in invoking the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary:

Mother of Heaven, hear the plea of your children as we humbly call upon your name!

Virgin of Hope, we entrust to you the journey of the faithful in the noble land of China. We ask you to present to the Lord of history the trials and tribulations, the petitions and the hopes of all those who pray to you, O Queen of Heaven!

Mother of the Church, we consecrate to you the present and the future of our families and our communities. Protect and sustain them in fraternal reconciliation and in service to the poor who bless your name, O Queen of Heaven!

Consolation of the Afflicted, we turn to you, for you are the refuge of all who weep amid their trials. Watch over your sons and daughters who praise your name; make them one in bringing the proclamation of the Gospel.

Accompany their efforts to build a more fraternal world. Grant that they may bring the joy of forgiveness to all whom they meet, O Queen of Heaven!

Mary, Help of Christians, for China we implore days of blessing and of peace. Amen!

Photo: Worshippers prepare for the Palm Sunday procession March 25 outside a Catholic church in Youtong, China. For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced Sept. 22. -CNS photo | Damir Sagolj, Reuters