Kaohsiung church hosts triple celebration
New activity center, priesthood anniversaries, and a historic milestone all fall on one day
Priests outside the laity center
St. Vincent Ferrer Church in Kaohsiung diocese had three reasons to celebrate on May 1, with the opening of an activity center, the 30th priesthood anniversary of three priests and its 130th anniversary. Archbishop Peter Liu Cheng-chung of Kaohsiung, together with regional and local superiors of the Dominican Orders in Taiwan, blessed the new center which stands next to the historical Church built by the Dominicans in 1881. The archbishop then concelebrated a thanksgiving Mass with 17 priests, during which he also administered the Sacrament of Confirmation for nine laypeople and the First Communion for 12 children witnessed by 700 Catholics. The Praise to God Choir and the St. Vincent Children’s Choir added a festive atmosphere with their singing. Following the Mass, Archbishop Liu asked the children about the difference between a Holy Communion and a host before it is consecrated, and on whether they should say Amen or thank you when receiving the Holy Communion. The three priests celebrating their anniversaries were Dominican fathers Juan Jose Veneros, Jose Ignacio Moronta and Ricardo Cemteno Valdivieso. All have served in Taiwan for a long time and can speak fluent Chinese. Each year before Easter, Father Valdivieso carries a cross and walks around the island for a week to demonstrate the love of Jesus. His religious gesture has drawn many people to the Church. The priests also accepted gifts and red packets containing cash from laypeople to mark the church’s 130th birthday and in return, they sang La Paloma (dove), a Spanish love song. The celebration ended with a procession of floats with firecrackers being set off along the way. Catholics also prayed in front of the statue of St. Vincent at the church and his relic.