40th Anniversary of Chinese Catholic Community of SA
Eucharistic Celebration-7th March 2021
On 7th March 2021, His Grace, Archbishop Patrick O’Regan celebrated Mass at St. Joseph’s Church, Tranmere, on the occasion of the 40th year of the foundation of the Chinese Catholic Community of South Australia.
The Mass was celebrated bilingually in English and Chinese. The children took part in the Readings and singing. These activities fostered an enthusiastic participation in the Mass. Father Matthew Qin concelebrated the Mass with the Archbishop. Father Qin came from China in 2010 to train as a novice at St. Paul Monastery and has returned to help in the formation program of other passionist novices who have come from China, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and elsewhere. Father Roderick O’Brien joined the congregation after saying Mass at his own regular parish. Sister Nien Tran, Manager of the Archdiocesan Multicultural Office, was also present.
After Mass the congregation had a celebratory “shared lunch” under Covid19 regulations. There was a good variety of food which had been provided by participants and the atmosphere was very joyful.
The Chinese Catholic Community came about in a “miraculous” way. In August 1980 a young man from Whyalla was ordained as a Catholic priest in Adelaide. Fr. Roderick O’Brien had previously worked as a solicitor in Hong Kong. He made many Chinese friends and he began to study Chinese Language and Culture. With the permission from the Church, the first Mass in Chinese was celebrated by Fr Roderick O’Brien on Christmas Eve in 1981, at the Otherway Centre, Pirie Street, Adelaide. Subsequently Masses were held during some Chinese festivals eg. Mid-Autumn Festival. A small committee was formed which consisted of Mrs. Philomena Koo, Phyllis Lim and the late Bernadette Li to coordinate activities.
Father Roderick worked tirelessly to be with the community, including driving three hours from Naracoorte. When required, he would arrange for other priests to help us. All the Archbishops have been very supportive of our community, including advice from Sr. Nien Tran, Manager of the Archdiocesan Multicultural Office. At various times, we had religious Sisters who acted as pastoral associates including Sr. Joan Yu from Hong Kong.
Currently Chinese Mass is celebrated on the first Sunday of each month at 12.30pm, at St. Joseph’s Church, Tranmere Parish. A shared lunch was held after Mass until Covid 19 pandemic prevented that from happening. The Community is now blessed with many young families.
By Philomena Koo