Tue, Jul 30, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Saint Christopher’s Church celebrates 61st anniversary

Staff writer, with CNA

Saint Christopher’s Church in Taipei is pictured on March 30, 2014.

Photo: Liu Ching-hou, Taipei Times

Taipei’s Saint Christopher’s Church (SCC), which is involved with the city’s migrant community, on Sunday celebrated its 61st anniversary with morning Mass services, food stalls, a pageant and a dance competition, as well as performances by Filipinos, Vietnamese and Indonesians.

After morning services, which included a High Mass officiated by Archbishop John Hung (洪山川) of the Taipei Archdiocese, the church band performed popular English-language songs that got the crowd dancing.

Father Gioan Tran Van Thiet, assistant parish priest at the church and chaplain to Vietnamese migrants, introduced a series of performances and competitions.

‘HOME’

“Welcome to SCC’s 61st anniversary fiesta held here at the parish, a place where migrants come together to share their joy and sorrows, happiness and frustrations,” he said. “The following program is about helping one another in the migrant community, where we feel at home away from home.”

Leo Ramos, who works in New Taipei City’s Sanchong District (三重), won the male fashion pageant titled “Recyshion,” which sought to raise awareness about environmental protection by having contestants compete in clothing made from recycled materials.

Ramos, 31, beat six other competitors with a design made out of recycled potato chip bags.

Students from Indonesia’s Telkom University Choir put on a special performance.

They are in Taiwan to take part in the Taipei International Choral Competition, which started on Friday last week and runs until Sunday.

The Mega Mixers Dance Crew did a mixture of breakdance and acrobatic flips to defeat three other groups in the dance competition.

Outgoing SCC parish priest Father Franco Lacanaria, who has served at the church since January 2016, said the anniversary was important for members of the church and migrants, because it honors the patron saint of travelers.

“It is a big celebration in the parish, as it is an annual celebration of the feast day in honor of the patron Saint Christopher,” he said. “Saint Christopher is the patron saint of travelers and here we are all travelers and migrants on a journey or quest for a better life and a better relationship with God.”

New parish priest Father Edward Pacquing said more than 1,000 people attended the anniversary, and commended the activities held by the church as being positive for the mind, body and spirit of migrant workers.

“This is a good thing for them, because they will have memorable experiences here in Taiwan instead of going to some other places, which might cause harm and danger,” Pacquing said.

“And with this experience in Taiwan, when they go back home, they can also recall good memories,” he added.

VITAL SUPPORT

Kaibigan Jay, a radio program host and member of the SCC since childhood, said the church plays a heartwarming role for migrant workers, helping them channel their emotions while they work in Taiwan.

“The support the church gives to migrant workers makes them feel as if they are in their hometowns,” she said.

Often referred to as “our home away from home” by migrant workers, the SCC has over the past 61 years become a place of worship for people from all walks of life, Lacanaria said.

The church was built by Americans and opened in July 1958 to hold religious services for US military and Allied personnel stationed in Taiwan at the time, he said.

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