How to spend Easter in Shanghai? For a couple of years, we have attended mass in Chinese at the old Jesuit Cathedral. We recognize bits of the liturgy and enjoy the moment when the whole congregation jumps up and rushes the altar to receive the eucharist, kind of like rush hour on the subway.
But this year, we opted to attend mass in English at St. Francis Xavier Church. Although I can’t find much information about the building, a local architectural historian told me that it’s probably the oldest building in Shanghai. It’s a Spanish-style church, hidden inside a walled courtyard
in an old Chinese neighborhood that’s slowly being demolished.(This Sunday morning it was hopping.)
My family is Episcopalian, but there aren’t any such churches here. Besides, the Chinese Catholic Church doesn’t exactly report to Rome. In any event, it was great to be able to participate in the liturgy, to sing some familiar hymns, and to exchange the peace with such a truly international congregation.
After the service, we were pleasantly surprised to discover an international food fair in the courtyard. We joined in, sampling nasi goreng at Singapore’s booth, and had a drink at the Malaysian stall.By far the longest line was for Filipino adobo and lumpia!
Which got us to thinking: maybe next year Easter in Manila? If we’re in Shanghai, though, I suspect we’ll be back at St. Francis Xavier.
Thanks be to God!