Despite a Friday night that was so late it should probably be considered early, I got up Saturday morning to attend another ordination. This time it was three seminarians becoming deacons, which completed my Chinese ordination trifecta (deacons, priests, and a bishop). There are four dioceses in my province (mine in Xiamen, Fuzhou in the capital, Mindong in the east, and Minbei in the north) but only we and Fuzhou have bishops, so these seminarians came to our church for their ordination.
I was dead tired but very glad I went. It was the end of my time with my church, but I was able to witness the beginning of new vocations even as I prepared to leave.
The youth group took me out to lunch after the Mass. We went to the seafood restaurant next door for a big meal and obligatory toasts. We exchanged presents – I gave out American dollars and I was given a set of chopsticks and a pretty rock. (Both in enormous decorative boxes of course; no one seems to understand that I am preparing to transport all of my current possessions across the Pacific Ocean. Ugh.)
I went straight from there to another lunch date. Bo, a French friend of mine, made lunch for the two of us in his room – chicken smothered in a tomato and herb sauce, salad with honey mustard dressing, and French bread. It was almost the first salad I’d had all year, and certainly the best one. Between the food, the mellow music, and the good conversation, it definitely tied for Best Lunch of the Day.
I took a quick nap after second lunch, then returned to church for Sunday vigil Mass – my last time. I went dancing afterwards – also my last time. I said goodbye to them and successfully leveraged my leaving to get a picture of all of us.