Our Lady of the Angels, Rouse Hill is offering a friendly hand to Chinese members of the community, and is holding its first Chinese Mass in Mandarin on 20 June 2021 for anyone who would like to attend.
The parish is finding Chinese immigrants are keen to build community and some, who haven’t had the opportunity to follow a faith before, feel they would like to learn more about Catholicism now they are in Australia.
Parish Priest Fr Carlos Walker, originally from Argentina, is conversant in Mandarin having lived there before he came to Australia.
Out and about in local shopping centres he chats to Chinese people in Mandarin and sees how much they appreciate hearing their own language spoken to them. He noticed that many appear lonely and isolated. Knowing from his past posting in Taiwan that Chinese people are naturally community-minded he took the issue back to his parishioners, some of whom have Chinese heritage, and who enthusiastically came on board with ideas.
The Parish has started monthly afternoon teas for the Chinese community where they can meet other Chinese people in the area. The first one was held in May and was a great success.
“Young Chinese professional couples, who currently don’t have a religion because it was discouraged in China, have offered to help organise other gatherings because they want to help build community,” said Fr Carlos.
Fr Carlos hopes that the Chinese Tea events will also bring out isolated elderly Chinese. “Older Chinese people who cannot speak English are very isolated,” he says.
“We aim to make the Chinese Teas fun. We’ll be having line dancing, as it’s very popular in China, as well as offering English classes.”
His offer to hold a Chinese Mass on 20 June before the next Chinese Tea has proven popular, even amongst those Chinese people who are not Christian.
“I invited the Chinese nurse at my dentist to come,” he said. “She’s not Christian, but because I invited her in Mandarin, she said she would come.”
While the original intention of holding the Chinese Teas was to lend a hand in building community, Fr Carlos has now found some younger Chinese are now asking to find out more about Catholicism.
“Now they are in Australia, with a different system of government, they feel free to pursue their spiritual lives,” he said. “They want to find a faith.”
As a result, the parish is also starting a bible study group for people wanting to know more about the Catholic faith.
The Catholic Mass will be held in Mandarin on Sunday 20 June at 3pm at Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Rouse Hill, followed by a Chinese Tea in the Parish Hall.
Everyone is welcome to attend.
People can call Our Lady of the Angels Parish on (02) 8883 4063 for information.
The Parish aims to hold these events monthly.
You are welcome to download and distribute the invitation below.