I am a Catholic and religion is very important to me. Here in Taiwan, I have had many opportunities to attend Mass and talk to priests and nuns. Today, I want to share my first impression of Catholicism in Taiwan.
The Catholic Mass follows the same format in each country so I can understand the contents of the Mass, even though my Chinese is not that good. However, there can be some slight changes to the Mass based on local cultures. This makes it possible for me to learn about Taiwan’s Catholic culture while attending Mass.
我在臺灣第一個星期天，我去聖道明堂望彌撒。這家教堂的英文名字是St. Dominic. 我到教堂門口的時候，一位女生拿歌本和一本有關祭典的小冊子給我。
My first Sunday in Taiwan, I went to St. Dominic’s to celebrate Mass. When I arrived, a woman gave me a song booklet and a booklet with the words to the Mass in Chinese.
St. Dominic’s Church
Although the words of the Mass here in Taiwan are the same, I noticed three main differences in the ceremony.
The first difference is in the music. In the United States, a choir often sings during the Mass. In Taiwan, one person leads us all in song. I was happy to discover that during Mass here, everyone sings along. The songs we sing have a Taiwanese influence and are very beautiful!
The second differene is in the Sign of Peace. In the United States, we hug the people next to us or shake their hands during the Sign of Peace. In Taiwan, the priest and the Mass-goers bow to eachother. Then the Mass-goers split into two halves and bow to eachother. I think this difference reflects the culture difference between greeting people in the United States and Taiwan.
第三個差別是領受感恩 (聖體) 聖事以後。感恩(聖體)聖事是「整個基督徒生活的泉源與高峰」(CCC 1324)。在感恩(聖體) 聖事，天主教徒人吃一塊麵包和抿一口酒。我們相信這塊麵包和這一口酒就是耶穌基督「的體血、連同祂的靈魂和祂的天主性，真正地、真實地、且實體地臨現於祝聖過的餅酒的形下」 (CCC 1413)。在美國用完麵包和酒之後，天主教徒人自己祈禱，聼合唱團唱的歌。在臺灣吃的以後，天主教徒人自己祈禱。然後，我們一起唱一首歌感謝天主。
The third difference can be found after everyone receives the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the “source and peak of the whole Catholic life” (CCC 1324). In this sacarament, Catholics eat a piece of bread called the host and drink from a cup of wine. We believe that this bread and this wine are Jesus’s “Body and his Blood, with his soul and divinity” (CCC 1413). After receiving the Eucharist in the United States, Catholics take time for personal prayer. After receiving the Euchraist in Taiwan, Catholics also take time for personal prayer but then we all sing a song together to give thanks to God.
During my time here in Taiwan, participating in the Mass allows me to not only express my faith but also come to a deeper understanding of Taiwanese culture. I have already met Dominicans, Ursulines and Jesuits here in Taiwan. I am very happy for the opportunity to get to know Catholics here. I hope during the coming months, I will come to a deeper understanding of the faith here!
At St. Dominic’s