Posted by: rbbadger | December 25, 2008

Christmas Mass at Myeong-dong Cathedral

It was very good speaking with Mama, Daddy, and Paul this morning.  It was good to hear some familiar voices once more.  I did enjoy a little of the peanut brittle.  I have to make that stretch out, given that this is one commodity that we simply don’t see here.  You can find some western things, but I’ve never seen peanut brittle in South Korea.  But then, I haven’t seen dried squid sold on the streets of St. Johns, either.  And dried squid is delicious, mind you.

After I hung up, I took the red bus into Seoul, given that it comes far more frequently than the subway does to the hinterlands of Namyangju City.  After transferring to the subway, I found my way to Myeong-Dong Cathedral.

Myeong-dong Cathedral, named for Myeong Dong (明洞), the neighbourhood in the central district of Seoul that is now Korea’s main fashion district.  In an earlier age, it was home to one of the first Catholic communities in Korea.  On a hill near where the early Korean Catholics lived and worshipped is Myeong-dong Cathedral, Cathedral Church of the Catholic Archbishop of Seoul and mother church of Catholicism in Korea.  We received something of as nice Christmas present in that the exterior renovation of this great Seoul landmark is finally complete.  The scaffolding is gone and the facade is utterly magnificent. 

The place was utterly packed with people standing in the aisles.  I was lucky somehow to get a seat, but we were packed in so tightly that it was impossible to really bow to your neighbour without bonking heads.   It was a very nice Mass with beautiful Baroque and Classical period music provided by the cathedral choir, orchestra, and organ.  The Cardinal did manage to greet the foreigners in English during his sermon.  I am not certain how well he speaks English, given that I’ve never talked to him.  We sang all the traditional carols, all in Korean of course.  It was very difficult to refrain from belting out “Adeste Fideles” (“O Come All Ye Faithful”) in Latin, but I resisted the temptation. 

My Korean is getting a little better, I suppose.  I still need to really buckle down and discipline myself to study it better.  I know from my study of other languages that if you don’t devote at least an hour each and every day, your efforts won’t stick as well.  However, I did manage to make reservations for myself and some friends for Christmas dinner in Korean, but I later confirmed them in English just to make sure I did it right.  I am recognising more and more words, but I just need to buckle down more and practice harder.



  1. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! It was so good to hear your angelic voice! Glad you had the day off to enjoy! Take care! Love, Mama

  2. Merry Christmas, Robert! I hope you have/had a fantastic one!!!


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