Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Motorbike worshippers

The paprika-hued Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon is the focal point of Cong Xa Paris (Paris Commune Square). However, since it was built in the late 19th century its twin towers, topped by crucifixes, no longer dominate the square. It’s dwarfed by shrines to commercialism: the gleaming green curved facade of the Diamond Plaza, a shopping centre, and the rather unappealing HSBC tower complex.

Inside Notre Dame, the interior is simple although there are some vividly coloured stained-glass windows. At Mass times, the cathedral is packed – so much so that worshippers clog the road outside the front doors and sit on their motorbikes, 10 rows deep, listening to the service.

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