Hong Kong Filipino clergy describe Filipino Catholicism as far focused on devotions and ritual, unlike the Chinese Catholics, who tend to be far more doctrinally concerned. For Filipinos, the word “devotional” should not be interpreted solely as “private,” though it can be part of private prayer. Most of the devotionalism the people did talk about at home was communal, whether familial or very public. It tended to be upbeat at least as much as it focused on sorrow or loss. Despite the depth of their faith as Catholics, Filipinos would be fuzzier on doctrinal details and would not count systematic theological debates as particularly important. As one interviewee put it, “If you asked most of us Filipinos to explain our faith, we would say instead, ‘Come to church with me, and experience it.’”
Alongside this devotionalism, the Bible has become a relatively important part of many Filipinas' prayer lives. More charismatic Catholics might turn to it randomly or to certain passages. Others say that they rely on daily prayer guides that point them to readings of the day.
St. Joseph’s, a historically English-speaking parish just above the Central area of Hong Kong, is one place where large numbers of Filipinas gather for Mass. Masses are held on Sundays at 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. in English, and at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. in Tagalog. Filipinas and others line up in the yard of the church to wait for the start of Mass, and wait in line for the next Mass once one is full.
Updated: January 10, 2020 - 4:35pm