12/23/2001 - Catholic
Church in Shenyang
We went to a Catholic church
attending a Sunday Mass today. It is a life time experience I would
never forget. The music was very beautiful. They are the same songs, but
in Chinese language. There are about thirty members in the choir. They
sang a lot Christmas songs before the Mass.
It was 18 degreed C below zero (-18C) today. There was no heat in the
church, which looks like a basilica. There are some broken windows too.
The church is crowded. Three priests served communion. In this bitter
cold weather, it seemed that there is never ending line of people. We
estimated that there were about 500 people. All the procedures of the
Mass is the exactly the same as what we have in the states, except that
there is no collection of money. There two wooden box at the entrance of
the church. They are not marked. We saw people putting money in before
they went to the confession booth. We put the money there after the mass
and hope that is where the donation goes. The holy water was frozen
solid. After mass, we met two English speaking foreigners. One is a
priest himself teaching English here. He told us that foreign priest is
not allowed preaching here in China. The other guy speaks English and
German so Berthold got some German conversations as well. We were not
prepared for the cold weather and being in such weather for two hours
without moving. After the Mass, Berthold was too cold to talk. We did
not get a chance to speak to the sisters and priests.
There are two Catholic Churches in the city and many other Christian
churches. Religion is much open now. Christmas is everywhere. Many of
these are still commercial. Restaurants and hotels are all booked out
for tomorrow dinner and parties. Big shopping malls will be open over
night and a lot sales going on.
China has changed a lot. The bicycle time is gone. The city is full of
personal cars and taxis. All the taxis are Volkswagens. They are made in
Chang Chun where Sue went to college and it is the American equivalent
of Detroit. We don't have time to go to Changchun this time. It is about
5 hour train ride. The traffic is bad. No one seems care about rules. I
screamed a few times at the beginning when the taxi driver drove on the
wrong side of the road to pass other cars, now I am getting used to it.
They seem very skillful of doing so. They know where the police are and
very careful in certain areas.