From a friend:
Dear Fr. Z,
I’m in the midst of a trip to the Far East, to St. Paul’s sister cities over here, Changsha in China and Nagasaki in Japan. I came a bit early to see more of China again, and I am glad I did because I was surprised to run into a Latin mass my very first time at church here! I was in Shanghai on All Saints’ Day so I went to the main church in town, St. Ignatius Cathedral (in Chinese it’s called the Xu Jia Hui Church after where it’s located, the traditional center of the Jesuits in Shanghai, in the past spelled Ziccawei after Frenchified Shanghai dialect pronuncaition).
The church was jammed and when the mass began I was surprised to see that the celebrant was a visiting Cardinal, the recently-retired Cardinal Wetter of Munich. He was in Shanghai to visit his old friend Archbishop Jin whom he met back in 1948 in Rome.
The mass was Novus Ordo High Mass said in Latin. The well-known church choir of the Shanghai cathedral provided the music, and the congregation was able to follow along reasonably well though not in all parts (the final "Deo gratias" for some reason they didn’t seem to know). The sermon was given in German with Chinese translation, so I wasn’t able to follow it as well as I would have liked, but Cardinal Wetter spoke at some length and warmly. I also met some local German Catholics who live and work in Shanghai, whom I hope to be seeing again when I am there in the future.
Not far away from the church is the ancestral home of the first prominent Catholic convert in Chinese, Xu Guangqi (the neighborhood is named after him), and there is a lovely park there with a large cross erected by the Shanghai diocese over 100 years ago, as well as some statues and pictures of Matteo Ricci and him–there is a nice museum on site too. If you ever make it over to Shanghai–as I fully hope you do!–you simply must get to see it all. I did not make it to She Shan though, that is next on my to-do list.
The second Latin mass I got to attend was yesterday as I was passing through on the way out to Japan. One of the Germans told me about the mass there that he usually attends so I went to see it, but I didn’t know it was going to be a Latin mass. This one was the older form, probably the 1962 missal though I can’t swear to it, done very well. The priest is not old, I would say about 40, and he’s named Fr. Joseph He Wei. There was a small congregation, perhaps 20-30 people, of which almost all are Chinese with a small contingent of foreigners. He tells me that it’s the only Latin mass in Shanghai, but I am very glad to see it, and not the early morning ones that Beijing has (6:00 AM)–it’s at 10:30. The church is St. Francis Xavier Church on Dongjiadu Road, not far from the Bund in the old French Concession.
I am afraid I haven’t any pictures of the first mass and not much of the second, but you can imagine it and if you ever make it over then you can fill in the rest! I hope that we can plan something for the solar eclipse next July–I certainly am very taken with the idea.