Sunday, December 29, 2013

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

Located in the middle of downtown Tianjin there is a church named the Xikai Catholic Church or St. Joseph's Cathedral. This church was founded in 1913 and is the largest Catholic Church currently in Tianjin and the only cathedral in northern China. For those of us who have been to Europe {or anywhere in the west, really}, we hear the word "cathedral" and expect big towering structures with stained glass windows and beautifully restored masonry.

Well, you won't find that here, but you will find a lot of beauty and a serene, calm atmosphere. Despite common belief, there is a Chinese parish associated with this church as well as an English-speaking one, and many of my friends go to mass when we happen to have Sundays off.

It was nice to walk through and snap a few pictures, and even though I'm not Christian, it had a really cool atmosphere on Christmas Eve. Members of the congregation were there to guide folks {it was a big night for tours} and wished everyone "sheng dan kuai le!" One nice gentleman, seeing that my friend and I were foreign {and assuming we were there for prayer} tried to escort us to the English service in the nearby eduction building and when we demurred was very helpful in making sure that we had the opportunity to rest and pray.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and that it was meaningful for you and full of joy!

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