Priest cooks up super dumpling
Giant creation made to mark Dragon Boat festival and attract Catholics back to Church
Father Pierre-Marie Minh Son Pham, 46, shared the U-shaped rice dumpling that is more than 30 meters long with indigenous Atayal Catholics, hoping it would attract them back to St. Joseph’s Church in Nan’ao in Ilan County.
The parish priest arrived in Nan’ao three years ago, when there were few Catholics attending Church services.
He decided to make the dumpling, Vietnamese style, and share it out at a prayer gathering two days before the Chinese festival.
The Dragon Boat festival commemorates the death of poet Qu Yuan, 475-221BC. It is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which falls on June 6 this year.
The prayer gathering on Saturday began with an hour-long procession of more than 100 laypeople led by Father Paulus Sun, vicar general of Taipei archdiocese who held the Holy Host, and lay leader Basan Vatu, who held the crucifix.
Later, Father Pham and two dozen volunteers took the dumpling to the parish activity center.
After Auxiliary Bishop John Baptist Tseng King-zi of Hualien blessed the dumpling, he told the congregation that Father Pham is trying to turn the parish into a pilgrimage center for St. Joseph so that it can be linked with the Wu Fung Chi Marian shrine as well as other pilgrimage sites in Hualien County.
“By this, it can turn these pilgrimage sites into an indigenous religious tourist spot,” he said.
Father Pham also revealed that local authorities had agreed to let the archdiocese build a Marian statue outside the Wu Fung Chi shrine, which will be the largest in Southeast Asia.
The gathering Saturday also featured traditional dancing and singing while volunteers cut up the dumpling for everyone to share.
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