From a friend from back in my native Minnesota who has been living in China for some years now. He is Catholic and has been doing his best. It seems that he is helping to build where he is something that many people would love to have in their parishes.
If he can do this, why can’t you? Surely your resources and personnel where you are are greater than that upon which John and his friends can draw.
Enjoy slightly edited:
Dear Fr. Z,
I just got back from a whirlwind trip through several cities in China with a visiting friend from Minnesota. I see that you’ve been doing the same sort of thing in Italy (though with better food, lucky you!). We saw churches in all the cities we went to except for Guangzhou which we were in too briefly to come across it, and got to mass in the Extraordinary Form in Hong Kong where there is a lovely community the Salesians there host. I have some interesting news from them: they just received confirmation that Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana Kazakhstan will be visiting Hong Kong on December 15th and hopefully will celebrate a pontifical mass. I have a Messiah concert with my main choir in Beijing that day, so probably can’t go, but I am glad to see good things in the works there. We had dim sum with one of the parishoners after mass and had good conversation on various matters. He’s a friend of John Paul Sonnen [Does everyone remember him and his blog from Rome? John Sonnen is also from St. Agnes. He posted beautiful photos of the Eternal City. Now he is married and, I think, in Canada.] and met him in Rome on one of his tours, which is how we got in touch with him. From Hong Kong we saw friends briefly in Guangzhou, arriving on the same day they baptized their youngest son, and rejoiced with them, before boarding an overnight train to Wuhan. We met a few singers there who want to learn Gregorian chant to do the daily office, led by a young musician who studied in Germany and picked up materials there from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. … We ended the day by going to the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Wuchang (the traditional politcal capital of the Wuhan tri-cities along with Hankou and Hanyang), where we chanted vespers (or compline–I’m new to it so I can’t say which it was) in the church. The electricity was turned off so we had to use our cell phone flashlights in the darkened church–it put me in mind of the early Christians in the catacombs. Deanna left her book of chant with the musician leader (I call him “chant master”) for their use. There is also a Latin mass every month I hear, that I hope to make another time, and help them out with if I am able to. Along with the monthly Latin mass in Shanghai, and the daily low masses in Beijing, there are a few Latin masses in mainland China around that I know about, plus the one in Hong Kong of course. I hope to see one in Beijing at a more workable hour than 6:00 in future, that would permit singing chant or polyphony instead of having the congregation chanting the rosary throughout the entire service except for the Gospel, Consecration, and reception of the Eucharist, but I’ll see what comes as God directs.
Music in Beijing is going very nicely–my friends in Nine Gates Polyphony will be doing our next polyphony mass (Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices) at the Church of St. Joseph on Wangfujing November 10th, … And there will be Christmas caroling happening in December as there is every year, which I look forward to. I’m going to be planning for the German Catholics’ patronal feast, St. Joseph Freinadmetz, with my friends in their choir and hope we can do a bit more than last year’s chanting of the Missa de Angelis. Their kantor and keyboardist Daniel Tappe is an accomplished professional organist, probably the best organ player in China truth to tell, who is doing his best to make good music here despite the difficulties.
Have a good trip home, and do keep up the good work where you are! I’ll try to do what I can where I am as God directs. Blessings to you, John
This message has been intercepted by the NSA: the only branch of government that listens.
That’s a little humor there at the end.
No. Really. It is pretty funny.
At least I think it is a little humor. Hmmmm….
Get to work!