X
Living Church - Contribute to help UCA News
Living Church - Contribute to help UCA News
Living Church - Contribute to help UCA News
Living Church - Contribute to help UCA News
UCA News

China

CHURCHES AMONG MONUMENTS TO BE PROPOSED AS UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES

Updated: November 23, 2001 05:00 PM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Share this article :

Four Catholic churches and ruins and a dozen other cultural sites in Macau are to be proposed as UNESCO world heritage sites.

The Cultural Institute of Macau launched a campaign in July for the inclusion of the sites in the world heritage list and applications are due to be filed through the Chinese central government in 2003.

If approved, these Church historical sites -- Ruins of St. Paul, and St. Augustine´s, St. Dominic´s and St. Lawrence´s Churches and St. Joseph´s Seminary and Chapel -- will be the first Catholic world heritage sites on Chinese soil.

Among folk religions, the A-Ma sea goddess temple and the temple for Na Cha, a legendary figure, are also on the proposed list.

Other proposed heritage sites include Dom Pedro V Theatre, Lilau Square, the Moorish Barracks, Monte Fortress, the Provisional Council of Macau building and Senado Square.

"Though these heritage (sites) reflect a colonial trait that some people may not be happy with, they are the symbols of Macau and assets for tourism that the people here have been relying on," Father Joao Evangelista Lau Him-sang told UCA News.

Father Lau, parish priest of St. Dominic´s and St. Augustine´s, said churches on the proposed list are government property and the Macau Church can use them only for religious purposes.

Macau encountered two religious persecutions in its history and those Churches were confiscated as government property, he explained.

Coadjutor Bishop Jose Lai Hong-seng of Macau told UCA News that the local government has assigned Catholic lay associations to manage the sites.

The Ruins of St. Paul, now a city landmark and an important archaeological site, is the stone facade of St. Paul Church. It is all that remains of a church built in 1563 and later destroyed in a fire in 1835.

St. Dominic´s Church, one of three oldest churches in Macau, is called the "wooden hall" in Chinese as the original structure was made of planks. Built in 1587, it is the only evidence of Dominicans´ early presence in Macau.

St. Lawrence´s Church, or "church of the favorable wind" in Chinese, was erected by Jesuits. The church, a memorial of Portuguese presence here around 1558-1560, symbolizes the peak of Macau´s prosperity.

St. Augustine´s Church was built in 1874 to replace a church existing since 1588 and named after a Spanish Augustinian monastery that stood there before.

Meanwhile, the renovation of Holy House of Mercy Museum, which will display more than 2,000 Church documents, books and ceramic items, is underway. The frescoes in Our Lady of Guia Chapel have already been restored.

The former Holy House of Mercy, the first charity organization here, was set up in 1569 by Portuguese Bishop Belchoir Carneiro, the first bishop of Macau.

The house is also called "paycheck temple" in Chinese since in the early days all workers of the organization received their paycheck at the house, and the altar inside was referred to as the temple.

The frescos inside the sacristy of the Chapel of Our Lady Guia was uncovered in 1996 when the four-century-old chapel was being restored. The Chinese-style frescos depict biblical figures and religious scenes, which were considered rare in southern China.

Mainland China has 27 natural and cultural heritage sites listed as part of world heritage. These include several Buddhist and Taoist sites.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
Contribute and get the Mission in Asia PDF Book/e-Book Free!
Contribute and get the Mission in Asia PDF Book/e-Book Free!
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia