The mass to commemorate Matteo Ricci commemorative mass in St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner St, on Sunday 9 May was a moving occasion for the hundreds who attended. Chinese Jesuit John Lee SJ read the Gospel in his native tongue, and a Chinese choir provided the music. In his homily, Fr Lee said that despite the challenges facing the estimated ten million Catholics in China today, the Gospel call was to place their trust in God and follow His will. Principal celebrant, Irish Provincial John Dardis SJ, noted that Francis Xavier himself never made it to mainland China, dying on the island of Sancian, off the Chinese coast. Fr Dardis said the saint would never have thought that 400 years later the Gospel would be read in Chinese by a Chinese Jesuit, in a mass organised by the Chinese Catholic community in Ireland in a church named after him! After the mass, children in traditional costumes, gave a colourful display of traditional dancing.
The Irish Province celebrated the life of Matteo Ricci this weekend, 8-10 May, marking the 400th anniversary of this extraordinary Jesuit missionary, with an international conference on Saturday and commemorative bi-lingual Mass on Sunday. Over 100 people were welcomed to the conference in Gonzaga by the Provincial, John Dardis SJ, who said that Ricci was an inspirational man for the many Jesuits missionaries since his death. He quoted from Ricci’s book On Friendship: One hundred maxims for a Chinese Prince, saying that Ricci’s insight was truly relevant in these times. According to Ricci: “Proper friends do not always agree with their friends, nor do they always disagree with their friends, but rather agree with them when they are reasonable and disagree with them when they are unreasonable. Direct speech is therefore the only responsibility of friendship”.