ODAY, I am posting from Macau, China, for the first time. Thanks to your prayers, the move was very smooth. Since this is my first blog post from Macau, I would like to introduce to you this historical Catholic Diocese.
The Diocese of Macau is the first Roman Catholic diocese in East Asia. It was established by Pope Gregory XIII on January 23, 1576. It originally covered China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. It was a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Goa, in Portuguese India. Nowadays, the diocese only cover the city of Macau, which is a special region of China like Hong Kong. Macau was a Portuguese colony prior to its return to the Chinese government in 1999. It is an exempt diocese that subjects directly to the Holy See. The patron saints of the diocese is St. Francis Xavier and St. Catherine of Siena. The current bishop is of Macau is Bishop Stephen Lee, who is also a member of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross (Opus Dei).
One of the things that Macau is known for is its cultural heritage. Since it was a colony of Portugal, the Catholic faith became part of the culture and heritage. Even the most famous landmark of the city was a Catholic church. In the thumbnail picture of this blog post, you can see the Ruins of St. Paul’s, which is the façade of the Church of Mater Dei. It was built in the 16th century and was destroy by fire in 1835. Its ruins is now the most famous landmark of Macau.
Macau has some of the most beautiful churches in the world. The Historical Center of Macau is inscribed on the World Heritage List and over half of the churches in Macau are considered Cultural Heritage. The government is responsible for the preservations of these church buildings and they are never to be destroy. The “three oldest parish” were established in 1500s. And of course, many beautiful art works, vessels and other metal works, vestments and statues can be found in Macau. There are currently two exhibition halls that show old sacred items from churches in Macau and a new museum is under construction right now. Here are some of the beautiful churches in Macau:
You can also find the footsteps of many saints in Macau including St. Francis Xavier, Bl. Mother Teresa, St. Louis Versiglia and many other Chinese Martyrs. Some of them have lived and served in Macau, and some have visited for different reasons. Thanks to the intercessions of these saints, Macau kept many of the Catholic traditions till the present day. There are two processions each year, on Good Friday and the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, that are sponsored by the government. These processions are not merely religious devotions, but they are also considered cultural events, which are perfect for evangelization. Many non-Catholics, and even tourists, participate in the two annual processions.
I am very thankful that God send me here, to study in Macau. I hope that you would consider visiting Macau if you ever go on a trip to Asia.