Note: Sorry for the long-delayed posts on my Taipei trip. Things in the real world has been very hectic and stressful that I had to take a breather from blogging my travel posts.
For Filipino Catholics who want to start their Taipei trip with a quick visit to the church or to hear mass in Taipei (especially if you happen to be there on a Sunday), I highly recommend that you visit St. Christopher’s Church in Chungshan North Road near the Taipei Expo Park.
To go there, take the MRT going to Yuanshan (Red Line), fare is not more than NTS20. Upon exiting the MRT, walk east of Minzu W. Road (this is directly in front of the MRT exit), cross the Zhongzhan N. Road and walk south of Zhongshan N. Road. This will lead you to the sign of the Taipei Expo Park.
From there, head right. You are very near when you see this bridal studio:
Searched for the church via Google Maps and you can refer to this screen grab:
St Christopher’s Church is well-known as THE church where Filipinos converage for spiritual nourishment in Taipei. When you go to a mass on a Sunday and is lucky enough to catch the 12NN service, you’ll think you’re in Manila instead of Taipei. The mass is offered in Tagalog every 12NN of Sunday. The other services during Sunday meanwhile are said in English. My sister and I made it a point to catch the Tagalog service because we want to hear the local language used generously in a foreign land.
It was definitely one of the best masses I’ve attended in my entire life — second to the experience of hearing mass offered by Pope John Paul II in Manila during the celebration of World Youth Day in 1995 when I was in junior year in high school.
The mass was made enjoyable by the following:
1. A very joyful and relaxed officiant who delivered his sermon without the grave seriousness that seemed to be prevalent in some masses offered in Manila. I noticed that most sermons delivered in Manila had that “hail, fire and brimstones” gravitas that scares the pants out of me. The parish priest often is too serious, leading some parishioners to fall asleep. The priest at St. Christopher’s was funny, engaging and delivered the message directly and simply — yet aided by a nice power point presentation.
2. Church goes are very behaved — people actually turned off their mobile phones upon entering the church. There were also usherettes directing people to their seats and kindly reminding people to turn the juice off their digital devices.
3. The choir was very good!
Lastly, it was nice to see non-Filipinos attend the church, even Taiwanese men married to their Filipina wives were there, hearing mass with their kids. I love how the church serves as a good spiritual refuge for Filipinos who have been living in a foreign land yet still wanted to deepen their faith.
After the mass, I saw some kids make “mano” (a traditional Filipino of showing respect by pressing the elders’ hand to the kid’s forehead. We kids were taught to make “mano” to elders after every mass), and I can’t help but feel a surge of Filipino pride. I left the church smiling and in awe of how this little church is keeping Filipinos in touch of its roots.
After the mass, we went back to Yuanshan MRT station in search of food. It was past 1PM and we are stark raving hungry. To the other side are family-run restaurants and we happen to get transfixed on a mom and pop restaurant selling “MeiSua”. We were able to understand each other through a series of pointing and nodding and smiling and we ended up with a really great late lunch:
Like any “mom-and-pop” operation, the place is kept clean and the prices are affordable. Look out for the kind granny serving the soup.
Address and contact information:
ST. CHRISTOPHER’S CHURCH
51 Chungshan N. Road, Sect. 3, Taipei