Maria Holland

Adventuring Towards Mass

In Uncategorized on June 14, 2015 at 4:24 am

I ddin’t realize this because I usually went to Saturday evening Mass in Xiamen, but apparently Chinese Catholics are early risers.  I say this because at many Beijing churches, 8am (the earliest Mass at Nativity in Menlo Park) is the “last chance Mass”.

So, today started a bit early; I went to 西直门, or the West Church, for 8:30am Mass.  It’s the closest church to me – that still means a 20 minute walk and 40 minutes on the bus, but it’s better than the alternatives.  It’s a beautiful church

IMG 2154

and was nearly full when I arrived at 8:20.  Actually, I had a hard time finding a seat until one of the women that had been on the bus with me indicated that I should take her spot, and she went to the back.  It was one of those small but incredibly meaningful moments that epitomize the Church in China for me.  

It felt comfortable to go to Mass in Chinese again.  We sang the sprinkling rite using the exact same song as we used to sing in Xiamen, and I still remembered a lot of the words.  (Next time, though, I need to get there earlier and sit up closer to the TV screens with the words and music.)  Lectors speak very clearly and slowly in whatever language they’re reading in, so it’s always very easy for me to understand the readings.  The homily is always the most difficult part, and this priest was especially long-winded.  The homily was perhaps 20+ minutes, and he spoke for another 20 at the end of Mass.  I catch about 20% of that extemporaneous speaking, max.  

I had planned to get off the bus at some interesting location to get lunch, but wasn’t able to react quickly enough.  Instead, I got lunch at a Western (as in, western China) restaurant.  That turned out well, even the part where I didn’t realize I had to give my order to the kitchen myself.  I sat down to wait for my food and ended up catching the end of overtime and penalty kicks for Brazil vs. Portugal in the quarterfinals of the under-20 World Cup.  Portugal totally whiffed a few shots and lost.

I went back to my room, where I took a delicious nap and did some internet struggling.  In the evening, a few of us went out to forage for food in the area I “discovered” yesterday.  We ended up getting [more] Xinjiang noodles, but no complaints here.  I treated myself to a Magnum bar (maybe a weekly thing?) and then went back to the room where I finally got caught up on these journals!

  1. Ahhhhhh……..
    She’s baa-ack! Love reading about your experiences and observations once again.

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