St. Christopher’s Church to mark anniversary with High Mass, music

TAIPEI (CNA) — St. Christopher’s Church (SCC) in Taipei will celebrate its 61st anniversary on July 28 with a special High Mass, as well as with musical performances, a pageant and food, the parish priest said Wednesday.

The highlight of the day will be the High Mass officiated by Archbishop John Hung (洪山川) of the Taipei Archdiocese, Fr. Franco Lacanaria told CNA.

After the mass, the church band will give a performance of rock music, which will be followed by a modern dance competition and a beauty pageant that will feature clothing made from recyclable material, Lacanaria said.

“We’d like to use the opportunity to spread awareness of the importance of protecting the environment,” he said. “We want to show that there are things in the garbage that still have use and we shouldn’t burn everything and destroy our planet’s atmosphere.”

The migrant worker community and local parishioners are invited to attend SCC’s 61st anniversary celebration on July 28, Lacanaria said, adding that free food will be served.

“We’ll have a Filipino style barbeque that will be free for everyone, and it will first be served around 11:30 a.m. and again at about 1:10 p.m.,” he said.

In addition, a mini street market will be set up in front of the church, selling Filipino, Indonesian and Vietnamese food and snacks, the priest said.

Lacanaria, who has been serving at SCC since January 2016, said the church was built by Americans and opened in July 1958 to hold religious services for the United States military and allied forces stationed in Taiwan at the time.

Over the past 61 years, the church has become a place of worship for people from all walks of life and it plays an important role in the lives of migrant workers in Taiwan, he said.

On Sundays, when most migrant workers have a day off, the congregation at SCC may comprise 3,000 Filipinos, 200 Vietnamese and 50 Indonesians, Lacanaria said.

“There is a common expression here (at SCC) among the migrants, which is that the church is ‘our home away from home,’ because they find refuge and their own identity here, as if they’re in their own countries, he said. “It helps them forget about the stress that may come from their work or clumsy employers.”

Leoni Pascual Ngo, a staffer at the Migrant Workers’ Concern Desk that is based at SCC, expressed a similar view.

“This place is just like home for migrants, and every year we do something special and unique to celebrate its anniversary,” she said.

A Filipino member of SCC, who identified herself only as Ruth, said the upcoming event is special for her because it is reminiscent of the Philippines.

“It’s a tradition, not only for Filipinos in Taiwan, but also back home in the Philippines to celebrate the anniversary of your church,” she said. “The tradition is passed down generation after generation to get together to share food, laughter, and fun.”

By William Yen