In Taiwan only 1% of the population is Catholic. Therefore, events such as the following happen. In a conversation with two youth, a Missionary wished them a Blessed Easter. But none of them knew what Easter was. They did not have the slightest idea. In the end, after some explanations, one of them asked: “Easter eggs?” . . . This was the whole idea that two young educated people were able to express about the Solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection. It is no surprise, therefore, that in Taiwan, the Holy Week has normal working days, like any other week.
After having given you a fleeting picture of the Taiwanese atmosphere, we will say a few words about an apostolate that we had this Holy Thursday in Taichung, one of the cities of this remote island.
After having concelebrated the Chrism Mass, in the presence of Bishop Wang – “Our Guardian Angel” in these parts – having celebrated the institution of the priesthood along with the Bishop and the local clergy – and having bid goodbye to a 88-year old missionary, who was returning to his homeland after 60 years of missionary life in Taiwan, we returned to our Parish of Taiping, on the outskirts of Taichung.
The parish of Taiping in Taichung is the first IVE parish in Taiwan and was built from scratch (there was nothing!) 20 years ago by the Missionaries of the Congregation. Today it is still served by our missionaries and it has first image of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the first chapel of the Congregation (the chapel in the Finca), an image of Our Lady of the Annunciation.
But back to the story of this Holy Thursday. After the priestly lunch, we returned to our Parish of Taiping and we set up the monument for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Having finished the work, two of us missionaries went on a fast apostolic raid, inviting souls to the Holy Mass. We were in a van, handing out large posters in Chinese inviting the people to the Mass and other Easter activities. We passed by several houses and businesses. We got into our beloved aboriginal neighborhoods in which the kids followed us from house to house and even the Protestants greeted us with joy. In one corner two old ladies looked at us very happily. From the manner of their greeting, one knew that they were not Christians but they received with great joy the poster and the greetings of the Missionaries.
Once we were back, the people went to confession and then we celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. There were about 50 faithful-counting women and children- not a small number if we consider that these are working days here. After hearing the sermon attentively, the faithful received Holy Communion on their knees in order to show greater reverence to the Eucharist on the memorial of its divine institution. We had a small procession and transferred the Blessed Sacrament to the Chapel that we had prepared.
After Mass, hardly anyone left, since the people were praying the Rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament after having sung the Tantum Ergo and Adorote Devote in Chinese. After the Rosary, we had all-night adoration, and confessions were heard until seven in the morning. Thanks be to God, the faithful covered all the shifts. That night, around 25 people adored Him who for our sake became man and died on the Cross.
See the video of the Eucharistic adoration at: http://vimeo.com/93131022
We commend ourselves to the prayers of our Religious Family for the fruits of the Mission in Taiwan.
Missionary Fathers of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Taiping (Taichung, Taiwan)