Maria Holland

Christ the King

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Yesterday, being the last Sunday in the Church year, was the feast of Christ the King.  It also happens to be the feast day of the church here on Gulangyu, so all the Masses were held on that island this week.  It was my first time on Gulangyu at night, which was kind of cool.  Frankly, though, I think Gulangyu is overhyped.  It’s touted as this serene, peaceful island getaway . . . but honestly, so is Xiamen!  Compared to any other city I’ve been to in China (so . . . Yanji and Ningde) Xiamen is already so quiet by comparison that anything more just isn’t necessary.  You’re already on a small quiet island!  I don’t know how anyone could think Xiamen is so noisy and chaotic and 热闹 that they need to escape to a smaller, quieter island.   

Anyway, my church – pristine, classic white during the day – is lit up by lights that are continually changing color.  It’s like Disney World: St. Peter’s Basilica or something. 

I got there almost a half hour early, which ended up being a very good thing.  The Saturday night Chinese Mass crowd is the largest, and Christ the King is the smaller of the churches.  I managed to find a pew and took some time to preview the day’s readings while the Chinese prayed.  I really think they were praying the rosary (the rosaries in hand were a good clue) but the sounds they make do not even remotely match the words I learned.  Maybe they’re praying in Minnanhua?  There was also a steady stream of people goi to confession, right up until 7. 

When Mass started, I was surprised to see a very crowded altar.  In addition to Father Dominic, Deacon Joseph (soon to be ordained) and the two usual altar boys, there were another three priests concelebrating.  It was really nice because it gave me a sense of being a part of something larger than just the Xiamen Catholic community in China.  I mean, theoretically we’re a part of a diocese, but I don’t know anything about it. 

Another bonus of this was that the main celebrant spoke very clearly.  He gave an extra-long homily, so even after taking time to go over the readings in English, I had time to listen to him.  I understood a fair amount – more and more each time!  When I listen to a Chinese homily, half of the things I notice are actual content (“We should put Christ as king of our lives”) and the other half is grammar (“Hey, he used the 把 structure to say that!”). 

I took the ferry back to Xiamen and then a bus back to campus to go dancing.  There were very few people there but I danced almost every dance and had a really good time.  I can tell that the other people are slowly opening up to me – each time, someone new asks my name, dances with me, starts a conversation, asks where I got my dress and how much I paid for it, etc. 

After that dancing was over, Leinira and I went out to The Key for more, meeting a lot of friends from XiaDa there.  A day that ends with that much dancing, plus street food at midnight – wonderful.

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  1. I really like you going to church before us. I get a preview of the Mass and the readings. It is like having a reading from part of our Bible Study. I’m a little more attentive and informed.
    Thanks!

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