Every 24 May in China and Taiwan is celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Sheshan. Being impossible to draw even a sketch of the countless Marian celebrations of this date in the Celestial Empire, in this chronicle we just talk about the celebration made by the Legion of Mary of our peripheral Parish of Taiping, in Taiwan.
At 8 am, after the Eucharistic Adoration and the Holy Blessing, the Parish Priest, whose Chinese name is “Fu”, celebrated the Mass and preached in Chinese “the glories of Mary” –as St. Alphonsus said-. It was not a “scheduled Mass” but a Mass celebrated ad hoc. The Legion was present, as well as other parishioners, desiring to honor his Mother of Sheshan, even when no precept requires to attend the Mass this day.
Since Taiwan is a land where even the Mission is in its infancy, there are not so many temples for the true worship, so it is not easy to design pilgrimage routes. Anyway, after the Mass, the Legion, faithful to its noble traditions, went away to two Marian pilgrimage sites.
We traveled in two vans to a very touristy town, where there is no church, but there is a “Catholic” Ferry, founded by a Missionary in order to collect alms for the Works of Mercy-. We got on the ferry, we passed through a beautiful green water bay and arrived at a small land, where recently was planted a worthy shrine to Our Lady, where we pray the Most Holy Rosary. Was the first time that the undersigned can recite the Hail Mary in Chinese without seeing the paper.
After the Rosary, a beautiful Chinese tradition had taken place: a faithful screamed three things, for me even unintelligible- and after each shout, they all do three very deep bows to the Virgin. In addition, we devote several songs to the Virgin and, after this, each of the presents offered a rose to Our Lady (we were going one by one, with perfect order). Suffice is to say that we were not alone on this land. There were many other people, but the Legion of Taiping was able to be witness of the Catholic Faith, without showing even a pinch of “human respect”.
After having lunch – we ate few dishes made by the “vienchumin” people, which are the Aboriginal natives of Taiwan- we made a pilgrimage to a shrine of the Virgin located in the town of Puli, where, kneeling silently, we meditate, prayed the Lauretan Litanies and a Religious talk us about something. Do not ask me what was the theme of the speech because I have not even finished the fourth lesson of the Mandarin book, but I guess she talked something about our Faith … At least I was able to communicate myself with a with a girl of about eight years, who, although she is baptized, she had never heard of God. Also, as if I were a “weirdo”, a Chinese took me a picture in the pedestrian.
We commend to your prayers for the fruits of the exciting mission in the Far East.
Fr. Federico, IVE
Missionary in Taiwan