Mudan Loves Jesus

9 01 2011

"Mudan Loves Jesus"

Before I leave Mudan, I make a trip to St. Paul’s, the local Catholic Church in town. A former alter boy myself, I’m always fascinated to see how the places of worship in Taiwan’s indigenous villages often feature aboriginal paintings and other elements of local culture.  

I’m tickled to see the matching couplets which read “Jesus loves Mudan” and “Mudan loves Jesus.” And at the entrance to the church I’m surprised to discover the row of ancestral tablets above an alter table, and the urn of incense sticks placed before them. At some point in Catholic history, the Vatican had given the okay to ancestor worship and it was incorporated in churches throughout Taiwan. It makes sense – Catholics worship saints and pray to the deceased, so why not burn traditional Chinese incense sticks for them as well? It’s a relatively simple way of accommodating local beliefs in a way which honors and respects the traditions of the local people. 

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