The parish of St Ignatius, Norwood, South Australia invited us to construct a pilgrimage for them through the Catholic sites of China, as well as to iconic places like Xihu (West Lake) in Hangzhou and the Forbidden City in Beijing. Of course, our trip would not have been complete without a visit to the Great Wall.
Between October 16 and October 27, 2016, Sino-Immersions team members led the pilgrims to sites throughout China, beginning with the famous entrepôt of Macau, the inland city of Zhaoqing (where Jesuits first lived in China) and the magnificent centre of Shanghai. Unseasonal typhoons meant that we were unable to reach Shangchuan Island, where St Francis Xavier died, because ferries had been cancelled, which certainly reinforced the challenges those pioneers faced centuries ago!
Our pilgrims enjoyed local delicacies as well as relaxed in stunning gardens, pondered China's cultural riches in museums and parks and wandered the fascinating back streets. We marveled at the architecture in Shanghai - especially as seen from a river boat cruise - and admired the serenity of a famous Buddhist temple.
We were especially lucky in that we were able to join a local parish in Hangzhou for their weekly worship and, in Beijing, Dr Clarke managed to talk the group's way in to visit the tombs of Matteo Ricci, Adam Schall von Bell and Ferdinand Verbiest, among others. These were unforgettable experiences, as described in the reviews of some of the participants.
Jeremy Clarke and Sam Shriver accompanied the tour group for every step of the journey and we were glad to be joined by Xavier Eales in Shanghai.
The accompanying pdf has further information about the itinerary of this successful tour. Sino-Immersions provides many types of tours throughout China, and this one gives an excellent introduction to one of only many possibilities.