Br. Gregory Travel Journal from Taiwan

Travelogue from Taiwan
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Br. Gregory on April 20, 2016

 
Taipei, Taiwan is the city where I was born and grew up, and where my parents still live. I have long heard about the Dominican community there, although I never had any contact with them before entering the Order in California. Since I am visiting my parents this week, I was not going to miss the opportunity to visit the Dominican brothers in Taipei.
 
 

The priory where the student brothers reside is located right behind Fu-Jen Catholic University, at which the brothers take courses of philosophy and theology. Interestingly, just like the house of studies in Oakland, it is called St. Albert’s Priory. I was invited last Thursday by the prior, Fr. Angelik, to join the brothers for their weekly vespers with benediction, followed by dinner and an extended recreation.

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When I arrived at the priory, the brothers embraced me with open arms and immediately made me feel at home. We said to each other, “We’ve known each other for so long on Facebook, and now we finally meet each other in person.” There was an instant connection. Praying the Divine Office in Mandarin Chinese with the brothers was a whole new experience for me. During the dinner and recreation, I noticed that the brothers are curious about me and the Dominican life in the Western Province, just as I was equally curious about them and their lives. As I found out, there were five student brothers and four priests in that priory community. One of the priests even knew Fr. Corwin from Rome! I was not the only guest that evening.

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I met a vocation candidate who would like to join the Order in Taiwan. Interestingly, he was a graduate student from Japan, studying Chinese literature. At the end of the evening, I was invited by Fr. Angelik, to attend the Sunday Mass with the brothers at St. Dominic’s Parish in Taipei.

 

St. Dominic’s Parish has quite an impressive facility. The parish church is located on the ground floor, and there are classrooms, an auditorium, a kindergarten, and even a full retreat facility within the compound. Before the Mass, an older gentleman led the chanting of the Rosary in an ancient tone in a Taiwanese dialect. I felt as if being transported to another century. I was once again welcomed warmly by the brothers and parishioners. Since last Sunday was World Day of Prayer for Vocations (Good Shepherd Sunday), two student brothers gave an inspiring presentation on the tradition and mission of the Dominican Order after the Mass.

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I am very grateful for having small tastes of the Dominican life in Taipei, which really served to strengthen my connection to the Order at a another part of the world. My horizon has really been broadened, and my identity with the Order was also deepened. One thing I know: These brothers that I met in Taipei will continue to be in my prayers.
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See you all soon,
 
Br. Gregory Liu, O.P.