Published: April 10th 2012April 8th 2012
This was our 2nd Easter in China; the 1st Easter we didn't go to Mass or celebrate in any traditional way. In 2010, Easter and Qing Ming were on the same weekend so we had jetted away to Yangshou to take in the limestone karsts and clarity of the Li River.
This year, we took the high speed train from Hangzhou to Shanghai's Hongqiao Railway station
(largest in Asia), transferred to the Metro(subway) traveled on 3 lines and arrived at Xujiahui station to attend the English Mass at St Ignatius Cathedral.
From our apartment door to the front of the Cathedral it took 3 hours and 15 minutes including wait time. The high speed trains leave from Hangzhou to Shanghai about every 20 minutes so there is no need to buy tickets ahead of time, show up to the station, purchase your one way ticket for 78rmb($12.38),pass through "security" and get on a train shortly after and you are on your way.
We arrived at the Cathedral around 11:20am and waited around with a very diverse expat community awaiting the English mass. Like many churches in the US there were over 5 services on Easter
Sunday, but only one in English at noon. We admired the beauty of the cathedral and surrounding grounds area and also met a visiting Professor from Sweden who is teaching Mathmatics to Automation Graduate students at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He lives in Shanghai 3 weeks at a time and goes back to Sweden for 2 weeks to do his other Professor duties at a University back home. I am guessing he is in his mid 60s and had a wealth of knowledge as he attends this church service every Sunday he is in Shanghai.
The service was beautiful and the sermon was really good. I enjoy when I pay attention to the whole sermon because sometimes this is when my mind starts to wander during the service. We also noticed the many changes that took effect last Fall to the words of the service. Young children took rose stems to the alter during the offering and I believe there were many countries represented from around the world.
After the service the Swedish Professor took us to a nearby park, where Xu Guangqi
and Matteo Ricci
were honored. These gentlemen were 2 of the
eggs given out to the children after Mass
we got plastic eggs with hard candy inside
3 Pillars of Chinese Catholicism. We got quite the history lesson and I remember some of these stories as Scott, Pete's father, was interested in the orginal Jesuit missionaries in China.
The 2nd mission of our trip to Shanghai was to meet an old coworker of mine in San Diego from Enterprise Rent A Car(ERAC). Phil moved to Hong Kong last June after getting burnt out at ERAC and would be visiting his brother who lives in Shanghai. We took the metro back to the Weining station to find the Yanlord Riverside Garden where Phil's brother and his family live. I didn't know what to expect as I only knew Phil through ERAC and we weren't best of friends but reconnected through LinkedIn.
Boy, Pete and I are both glad we accepted the invite for Easter lunch at their home. There were 11 of us total including 3 children aged 8, 6 and 2. They live the "high life" in Shanghai as they work their asses off with many hours and high profile jobs. Chris, Phil and John grilled 3 different types of beef for us including one that was 792 RMB ($125.17) imported
from Australia and compared to Kobe beef from Japan. BEST STEAK EVER!!!! We got to taste the famous "Swifty Sauce" a family recipe steak sauce which they hope to sell in the future, along with grilled brussel sprouts, grilled corn on the cob, grilled Sicilian cheese, cheesy mashed potatoes, purple potatoes (taro) and many appetizers of cheese and triscuits. As for drinks we had imported Belgian beer and white wine. We both were in Heaven and really enjoyed the amazing company.
It is funny how we all have different careers in China, represent the US (CA, CO, IL, NC and MA) and Brazil and still had such crazy things to say about our lives in China. Bella, lived in Shanghai the longest at 8 years, John and Jenny 6 years, us with our combined 2.5 years, Chris & Garylyn 2 years and Phil 10 months in Hong Kong. I shared the video I posted on FB of our apartment so they knew how other foreigners can live in China. I always have said I am grateful for the training that I received and the amazing people that I met working at ERAC, without ERAC this Easter weekend
would have been different. Now we await our late Easter package coming from IL as I guilted my Mom, love you, to sending us a care package with Easter chocolate and candy. Quotes that stuck with me from the day:
Little girl about 6 yrs old sitting behind us in church during the first standing period "Dad, is it over already?"
Swedish Professor "I have a Foreign Expert Certificate so that entitles me to a driver." Every foreigner that has a working visa must have a Foreign Expert Certificate, so we educated him a little on what that entitles him to.
"I have lived in Shanghai 6 years and never been on the Metro. I have a driver who works 6 days a week and gets Sunday's off. My company then pays for a taxi on Sundays. The Shanghai Metro has become one of the fastest growing systems in the world with 434 kms (270 miles) of track in operation, over 2 billions riders in 2011 (5th busiest in the world), 11 lines in operation and 278 stations. VERY IMPRESSIVE as the US could learn a thing or two from the Shanghai Metro.
*St Ignatius Cathedral is located on Metro Line 1 at Xujiahui station Exit 3.
Xu Guangqi & Matteo Ricci
Ricci was an Italian Jesuit Priest
There are more photos below