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Chinese Catholics celebrate with Mass, banquet at St. Mary’s Cathedral

February 27, 2015
Valerie Schmalz

In few American cities is Chinese New Year’s celebrated with the panache that it is in San Francisco, and Chinese Catholics and friends continued that tradition – the Catholic way – at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

The Feb. 21 Chinese New Year’s celebration began with a Mass celebrated by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, joined by auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice, retired Santa Rosa Bishop Daniel Walsh and retired auxiliary Bishop Ignatius Wang as well as numerous priests. More than 500 people attended a banquet held in a lower hall in the cathedral.

“Give thanks to God” and ask for his protection for the new year, Archbishop Cordileone told those attending Mass, noting in his homily that this is the Year of the Sheep in the Chinese lunar calendar and “the church sets before us the consoling figure of Jesus the Good Shepherd.”

At the end of the Mass, the archbishop participated in the ancient Asian tradition of venerating ancestors which he said in his homily “resonates well” with the Lenten focus on readings from figures of the Old Testament and noted that Lent and Easter “celebrate Christ’s victory over forces of evil.”

“Let us give thanks for this new year, a season of grace which is God’s gift to us,” Archbishop Cordileone said. “Let us rejoice that it is in the risen Christ that we are reunited with our departed family.”

The Mass included dancing by Repentance Prayer Group, comprised of faithful Catholics from the Bay Area, said Divine Word Missionary Father Peter Zhai, director of Chinese Ministry for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The banquet entertainment included singing by Prism, a local Catholic Chinese musical group. The banquet was served by volunteers from various Chinese communities in the archdiocese.

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