萬金聖母遊行

多元融合的宗教文化風景
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2019 / 5月

文‧陳歆怡 圖‧莊坤儒


農曆3月「瘋媽祖」,熱潮席捲全台。然而,來自西方的女聖人——聖母瑪麗亞,早在百年前也融入民俗廟會的遶境傳統,乘轎出巡,庇佑蒼生,這是發源在屏東萬巒鄉萬金村的「萬金聖母聖殿」。 

萬金聖母近年還曾二度環島出巡,去(2018)年更破天荒地與臨近的道教宗天宮合辦「當東方聖母遇見西方聖母:讓愛起飛」活動,活力滿滿,更印證台灣社會的多元與包容。

 


 

為了親炙萬金聖母的魅力,12月初,記者來到屏東萬巒鄉萬金村,東邊的大武山宛如巨人側躺,守護著安靜的小村,冬陽灑下,少了夏日的燥熱,多了田園收穫的乾草氣息。

全台唯一的天主教聚落

來到萬金村,第一印象是,整個村莊彷彿一座大型的天主教故事館,每條巷弄、轉角都可見以聖經為主題的大型彩繪或雕塑裝置,有的畫進萬巒鄉地景,有的帶有漫畫風格,到了晚上許多裝置還掛著燈泡閃閃發光。

根據萬巒鄉公所統計,萬金村設籍人口約三千多人,常住人口約兩千多人,人口數為萬巒鄉14個村中最多;全村人口中,早期高達九成為天主教徒,許多家庭的小孩一出生就受洗,伴隨著主日學等教會活動而成長。近年,隨著人口外移、社會轉型,村民中天主教徒的比例降為百分之五十五,仍是全台天主教徒「人口密度最高」的社區。

1870年西班牙籍神父郭德剛(Fernando Sainz)在萬金村蓋了教堂,並奉「聖母瑪利亞」為教堂的「主保聖人」(意即守護者);此後每年12月上旬的建堂週年慶(或稱「主保堂慶」),都會舉行禮敬聖母的遊行,逐漸演變成全台灣天主教乃至外國觀光客的朝聖地。

「對世居在此的教友來說,教會禮儀就是他們遵循的年曆,」出生於萬金、經營村內唯一背包客民宿的陳玉馨說,12月對萬金村民而言,從上旬的主保誕辰一路到下旬的耶穌誕辰,整個月都忙碌而充滿感恩,且主保堂慶前,教會連續8晚都有特別彌撒活動,「以醞釀氣氛,讓教友逐步進入狀態。」像是晚會中會演唱萬金獨有的「古謠」聖母經,是兩百多年前,西班牙道明會傳教士在廈門、福建採集的民間古調,再改編為教會歌曲,最終流轉到萬金。

天主教友年度大會師

在歐洲,天主教的朝聖之路,乃是沿著聖人軌跡與串聯教堂而行,教徒藉由實地行走、體驗,進行自我對話、誠心懺悔,從而提升性靈;在台灣,天主教友不辭遙遠地來到萬金聖母聖殿參加堂慶,更意味著對過去一年的深刻自省與悔改,祈求得到祝福。

根據教堂統計,去年的萬金主保堂慶,參加總人數約八千人,其中有五千六百多人來自外地,過往還曾有過上萬人參與的盛況。

記者全程體驗了去年的堂慶,10點一到,鐘聲大作,有如天使降臨,高雄教區劉振忠總主教率領來自各教區的神父列隊入場,整場彌撒在講道之餘,有萬金天主堂合唱團與高雄玫瑰聖母教堂西洋樂隊的現場演唱,樂聲悠揚澎湃,讓人油然升起神聖崇敬之感。

來自中國河北的盧寶理坐在人群裡,目不轉睛觀禮,他雖不懂閩南語的聖歌與證道,卻直說:「台灣天主教很熱情,很蓬勃!」退休的他,幾年前展開自行策劃的兩岸天主堂朝聖之旅,這次來台灣幸運搭台北聖家堂便車前來萬金朝聖,盛大的場面讓他滿懷感恩。

這天還能見到彌撒前後的空檔,教堂戶外草皮上排出好幾條人龍,原來是教友們搶著向神父懺悔(為天主教特有儀式,即教徒藉由向神父告解,對天主認罪)及領聖體。

萬金天主堂李漢民神父說,他曾遇過同時有七、八十位神父在戶外聽懺悔的「盛況」,「因為堂慶這天有很多來自各地的神父,他們有義務『及時服務』;教友也覺得,平時跟所屬教會的神父太熟,反而難以吐露隱私,跟素昧平生的神父告解,比較沒壓力。」李漢民笑著說。

遶境遊行宛如嘉年華

下午的聖母遊行從教堂開拔,隊伍前導為十字架上的基督像,接著是各教區團體隊伍,最後是萬金教會的聖母轎、神職人員、萬金教友等,眾人邊禱告邊唱聖歌,繞行萬金村與相鄰的赤山村,道路兩旁居民也夾道觀禮,四處響起「天主保佑」的祝福。

最受矚目的是壓隊的萬金聖母聖轎,由8人一組、5組人馬輪流抬轎,轉彎、前進、後退都超有默契。高潮是返回教堂時,轎手們將聖母轎高舉過頭,快步「衝」往教堂,此時鞭炮大作,氣氛沸騰到最高點。

轎班組長王永成,從18歲就參與抬轎,除了當兵中斷,已連續抬轎22年,「願意服務到抬不動為止。」他說明,轎班全由萬金教友組成,都是出於榮譽感,今年首度規劃「按照身高分組」,且每隔100公尺(大約3根電桿距離)聽口令換組,讓過程更順暢。

萬金聖母遊行從何年代開始?已不可考,但從教會記錄可知,目前使用的聖轎,是1876年由福建名雕刻家所刻,重量達300公斤,「早期轎子更重,因為刻意在底座綁4顆大電池防止晃動,可能古早人務農,比較粗勇吧!」王永成笑說。

李漢民神父則聽聞七十幾歲的耆老回憶,直到30年前,萬金聖母遊行的隊伍中,還穿插有村民自組的宋江陣、車鼓陣、舞獅等民俗藝陣,鞭炮更是放不停。只是,藝陣傳統逐漸失傳,加上道教中的「請神」儀式與天主教信仰抵觸,這些「鬥鬧熱」的景象早已不復見,鞭炮燃放也受到管制。

萬中選一的福地

萬金天主堂成為全台灣天主教的朝聖地,得回溯天主教來台宣教的歷史。

西班牙天主教道明會最早來台灣是在1622年,曾短暫停留北台灣,並在三貂角建立教堂(現已毀壞無存)。1859年,西班牙道明會第二次來台,從廈門來到打狗(今高雄),次年在打狗建立土磚聖堂,是宣教之始。1861年,道明會神父郭德剛偕同傳道師篤哥,從打狗跋涉六十餘公里至萬金,建立傳教據點。

為何選中萬金?李漢民說,萬金有廣闊腹地,且有發源於大武山的五溝水,灌溉出肥沃土地,最早落腳於此的平埔族,聚落及人口應有一定規模,「也可能郭神父透過禱告獲得神的啟示,而決定:就是這裡了!」

1863年,郭神父購買現今萬金天主堂後方的土地,建立起一座土埆構造的聖堂,最初有四十多人領洗。此後數年教區拓展並不順利,一方面漢人族群與平埔族間的衝突衍生出對教會的仇視,教堂遭放火與奪產,土埆教堂更因地震而震垮,但外籍傳教士仍篳路藍縷地逐步發展萬金教區。1869年,主持的良方濟神父為建立新教堂,買下今日萬金天主堂用地,還另外購地再廉價租給教友蓋屋、種田,改善教友生活。

現已列為縣定古蹟的萬金天主堂,具有西班牙古堡式建築風格,牆身純白,格局方正,整座教堂由朝西的正面雙塔式造型、中央禮拜堂,以及東面的環形殿所構成,高約八公尺,寬約十五公尺,長約卅九公尺,建築外觀雖經數次整修,但基本結構不變。

根據教堂記載,當年教堂基礎建材是以碎石、石灰、黑糖、蜂蜜、木棉、火磚等物混合,其他木材、磚頭等建材從福州裝船運至東港,再以牛車載運到萬金,匠師多請自福州、廈門、澎湖,勞力小工則由教友義務擔任,歷經1年才竣工,在1870年12月8日聖母誕辰日啟用。

延續兼容並蓄傳統

萬金天主堂百年來經歷的各種傳奇事蹟,也讓它作為朝聖地實至名歸。

1874年,清廷大臣沈葆禎奉命巡視南部開山工程,途經萬金時,就被這樣不可思議的建築所震懾,經深入探訪後,認為教會可發揮敦厚風俗及撫番的功能,於是奏請朝廷支持傳教。隔年,他親自帶著同治皇帝頒賜的「奉旨」和「天主堂」兩塊花崗岩勒石,鑲嵌在教堂山牆下方和大門上方,此後官兵路經天主堂前,都要下馬為禮,如今兩塊勒石仍高懸在教堂正面。

太平洋戰爭期間,天主堂一度被日軍占用為指揮部,神父改在教友家中舉行禮儀,教堂終能躲過戰火,完整保存;戰後,歷任的西班牙籍神父數度修建教堂、庭園、圍牆與附屬設施,營造出保有古風且被綠意包圍的教堂。

1984年,教宗若望保祿二世敕封萬金天主堂為「聖殿」,意為天主教會中的第一級教堂,享有教會中最高的神恩,從此吸引更多外來朝聖者。2011年,西班牙道明會將萬金教區交給台灣修會中華道明會,再接再厲延續傳統。

隨著萬金聖母遊行越辦越盛大,也有人提出質疑:是否變成「聖母崇拜」,偏離神學信仰?

李漢民解釋,天主教相較於基督教,多了敬禮聖人、聖女的傳統,「對天主教徒來說,聖母是人,但因為她是耶穌母親,且是完美基督徒,特別禮敬她。」年年參與籌劃聖母遊行的萬金聖家聯誼會前會長潘宋伯說,本地教友對聖母特別恭敬,因為聖母的慈愛形象讓人親近,「教友是透過聖母來中介、代禱,主要崇拜的對象仍是天主耶穌聖神三位一體。」

萬金聖母遊行的名氣響亮,吸引屏東縣政府自2011年介入推展觀光,只是,縣府盛大舉辦萬金耶誕季的結果,雖創下百萬遊客人次紀錄,卻也造成環境髒亂與干擾宗教儀式進行等弊病。因此自2017年起,教會與鄉公所達成回歸單純宗教活動的共識,才讓堂慶日回復到原有的莊嚴尊崇和溫馨氣息。

萬金聖母遊行在2012年被指定登錄為「民俗及有關文物」信仰類的文化資產,登錄理由包括:「結合西方宗教與在地民俗文化之活動,具歷史性、傳統性、地方性、文化藝術與典範性」、「為全台最大規模天主教活動,可見證在地族群歷史發展。」

在天主教來台宣教邁入161週年的今天,「萬金聖母聖殿」已經成為全台天主教徒的心靈原鄉,也是一生必訪的朝聖地,更是值得你我親近、體驗的本土宗教文化風景。

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英文

Wanjin's Madonna Procession

Chen Hsin-yi /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Scott Williams

Celebrations and processions honoring the birth of the goddess Mazu sweep across Taiwan during the third lunar month of every year. But Mazu is not the only divine figure feted in Taiwan. In fact, local Catholics also hold an annual deity procession in honor of the Virgin Mary, a custom that origin­ated more than a century ago at the Basilica of the Immacu­late Conception in Wan­jin Village, Wan­luan Township, Ping­tung County.

The basilica has organized two processions around the whole of Taiwan in recent years, and last year went so far as to arrange an event in con­junction with Mazu celebrations at a nearby Tao­ist temple. That energetic “meeting of Western and Eastern divine mothers” was yet further evidence of the di­vers­ity and inclusiveness of Taiwanese society.


 

Taiwan’s most Catholic village

Looking to experience the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for myself, I visited it last December. Loc­a­ted in Ping­tung County’s Wan­luan Township, Wan­jin sits to the west of the Dawu Mountains, which overlook it like a reclining giant protecting the peaceful village. Sunlight splashes down, filling the air with the scent of harvested hay in spite of the lack of summer heat.

My first impression of the village is that it resembles a large Catholic diorama: each corner and alley is decor­ated with a large Biblically themed painting, sculpture or installation, some painted into the local landscape, others executed more in a comic-book style. In the evening, resid­ents hang lanterns from many of the installations.

According to the Wan­luan Township Office, Wan­jin is the most populous of the township’s 14 villages, with a registered population of more than 3,000 people and 2,000-some actual residents. The village’s population used to be 90% Catholic. Many of its children were baptized immediately after their birth, and grew up particip­ating in Sunday school and other church activities. In more recent years, social changes and outward migra­tion have lowered the proportion of Catholics in the village to 55%, though it remains Taiwan’s most densely Catholic community. 

A Spanish priest named Fernando Sainz built the church in 1870 and named the Virgin Mary as its patron saint. Since then, the church has celebrated the anni­vers­ary of its construction with an early December procession honoring the Virgin Mary, one which has turned it into a place of pilgrimage for Taiwanese Catholics, and tourists from around the world.

“Parishioners who have lived here for generations mark their calendars with church celebrations,” says Chen Yu-shin, a Wan­jin native who operates the village’s only hostel. December is packed with events, from the Nativity of Mary early in the month to Christmas at the end, that keep locals busy and fill them with gratitude. The village even has its own hymn to Mary, one originally adapted from a Chinese folk tune by Spanish Domin­ican missionaries working in Xia­men and other parts of Fu­jian more than 200 years ago. 

An annual gathering

European pilgrimage routes follow in the footsteps of saints and link churches. Pilgrims walking these paths elevate their spirituality through self-examination and sincere repentance. In Taiwan, Catholics come to Wan­jin’s Basilica of the Immaculate Conception to particip­ate in church celebrations, reflect on their failings in the previous year, repent, and pray for blessings.

According to the church, roughly 8,000 people attended last year’s celebration of the Nativity of Mary, including 5,600 from outside the village. In some years, attendance has exceeded 10,000 people.

I experienced the whole of last year’s festivities. When the bell began to strike at 10 a.m., it sounded as if it were announcing the arrival of an angel. Instead, Archbishop Peter Cheng-­chung Liu, prelate of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kao­hsiung, entered the plaza at the head of a line of priests from various parishes. The celebrations included both the reading of the mass and musical performances by the Wan­chin Basilica Choir and the Kao­hsiung Holy Rosary Cathedral’s Western music ensemble that inspired feelings of veneration.

A carnivalesque procession

The afternoon Madonna procession starts at the church. An image of Christ on the cross leads the way, followed by groups from each of the parishes. The Wan­jin Basilica’s Madonna palanquin, clergy, and pa­rish­ioners bring up the rear, all of them praying and singing hymns as the procession wends through Wan­jin and the nearby Chi­shan Village. Crowds line the streets along the way, their cries of “God bless!” filling the air.

The most eye-catching part of the procession is the palan­quin itself. Five rotating teams of eight people carry it, advancing, retreating and turning in perfect synchrony. The march climaxes in the return to the basil­ica, with the bearers lifting the palanquin above their heads and rushing into the church as fireworks explode and the atmo­sphere rises to fever pitch.

One in a million

Wanjin’s status as a pilgrimage site for Taiwan’s Catholics stems from its place in the history of the Cath­olic mission in Taiwan.

Spanish Dominicans first came to Taiwan in 1622. They stayed briefly in the north, and built a church at Cape Santiago (since destroyed). The Dominicans came to Taiwan a second time in 1859, arriving in Ta­kao (present-­day Kao­hsiung) from Xia­men. They built an adobe church there the following year and began to missionize. In 1861, Fernando Sainz and a missionary named Yang Du (“Brother Du”) trekked the more than 60 kilometers from Ta­kao to Wan­jin, where they established a missionary outpost.

Why did they choose Wan­jin? Father Li Han­min says that Wan­jin had a vast hinterland, and the nearby Wu­gou River provided plenty of water with which to irrigate its fertile soil. In addition, the Aborigines who were already settled here provided the missionaries with a sizable population to convert. “Father Sainz had probably also received divine inspiration in his prayers, and therefore decided that this was the place.”

Father Sainz bought the land behind the present-day church in 1863, constructed a church of earth and stone, and quickly baptized more than 40 people. But the parish’s development was far from smooth over the next few years. Conflicts between ethnic Chinese and Aborigines generated ill feelings towards the church, which led to it being looted and burned. When the building was subsequently destroyed by an earthquake, the foreign missionaries soldiered on with their work in the parish. In 1869, Father Francisco Herce purchased the site of the present-day basil­ica to build a new church, as well as another tract of land that he then leased to pa­rish­ioners at a low cost. This enabled them to farm, build homes, and improve their lives.

Now a county-level designated historic site, the basilica is built in a Spanish style, rectangular and white-walled. It has a central chapel flanked by two towers on its west-­facing front, and an apse at the eastern end. Roughly eight meters tall, the basilica is about 15 meters wide and 39 meters long. Although the exterior has been renovated several times, the church’s basic structure remains unchanged.

Church records show the primary building material used was an amalgam of locally sourced crushed stone, lime, brown sugar, honey, kapok, and bricks. The builders also used wood and brick that was shipped from Fu­zhou to Dong­gang, then transported to Wan­jin by oxcart. Most of the skilled craftsmen who worked on it came from Fu­zhou, Xia­men, and ­Penghu. The pa­rish­ioners themselves provided additional volunteer labor. The church took one year to complete, and was formally put into use at the Nativity of Mary (December 18) in 1870.

Carrying on a tradition

The church’s fame as a pilgrimage site is well deserved.

In 1874, the Qing minister Shen Bao­zhen was ordered to review progress on opening up the mountainous parts of southern Taiwan. Passing through Wan­jin, he was amazed by its remarkable church. After making inquiries, he determined that the church had the potential to help assimilate the Aborigines and pass on the “right” customs, and recommended that the imperial court support the missionaries. The next year, he personally delivered two granite plaques gifted by Emperor Tong­zhi to the church, one engraved “Imperial Decree,” and the other “Catholic Church,” that were subsequently installed into the wall above the main entrance. Thereafter, military personnel passing the church were required to dismount to show their respect. The plaques are still visible in the wall today.

When the Japanese military used the church as a command center during World War II, the priest held services in parishioners’ homes. Fortunately, the church made it through the war intact.

In 1984, Pope John Paul II made the Wan­jin church a basilica, giving it precedence over other churches and attracting still greater numbers of pilgrims from abroad. In 2011, the Dominican Order transferred Wan­jin Parish to the General Vicariate of Taiwan.

In 2012, Wan­jin’s Madonna procession was designated a cultural asset under the Cultural Heritage Preserva­tion Act, in the religion subcategory of “Traditional Arts, Folk Customs and Related Cultural Artifacts.” The designation described the procession as “an activity that integrates Western religion and local folk customs and culture, one with historical, traditional, local, cultural, and exemplary characteristics.” It stated further, “It is the largest Catholic activity in Taiwan, and offers evidence of the historical development of the local community.”

Some 161 years after the introduction of Catholicism to Taiwan, Wan­jin’s Basilica of the Immaculate Conception has become the spiritual home of Taiwan’s Catholics, an important pilgrimage destination, and a fascinating cultural experience even for non-Catholics.

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