Nha Tho Rach Cau – Tan Thoi, is a catholic church that people go to daily for mass, the majority of people in this area back in the late 70s and 80s are catholic, and I believe also true today 90s and 2010s because I’ve seen wedding ceremony 10s to 20s couple at a time. As for me I was forced to go to church daily when possible and mandatory Sunday mass when I was young. This church had major re-construction, when I was young the church was originally all cement with lots of crack here and there and look very old, like mideval time castle, it was big. The last time I visited Vietnam back in mid 2000s re-construction was completed, and I couldn’t recognize it. I missed the old church.
Back in early 80s going to church for me was fun sometime, not all the time. The church set up mandatory seating, male on one side and female on the other side, then disable or really old grandpa and grandma up front and then children, then adult. The music band was moved around many times, sometime they’re up in the balcony, sometime they’re in the center, sometime they’re on the side of the priest. Seating on the side of the children are special deacon similar to security watching after the kids make sure they don’t screw around not paying attention. Well, I remember at one time, a row of kids I was the last one on the row, someone had played a funny trick by pushing one guy falling on the side hitting other kids on the same row like a domino effect interrupted the mass, it was funny, the priest pause and stared at all of us kids seating on the same bench, but mass resume after that. I remember some kids badly behave got yanked by side burn hair, or their ear, sometime knock on the head or wip on the butt. Sometime if any of our kids come to church late we have to stand outside, for the rest of the mass.
The landscape surrounding the church was beautiful back in the early 80s, I remember the church has fences around, there were two entrance, one of the entrance when you first come in you will see “Me Maria” sculpture high up in beautiful decorated stones protected cave, surrounding “Me Maria” is a garden with all kind of beautiful flowers and trees that produce the most pleasant fragen from its flowers. Some of the plants or trees there fruits can be eaten. Us kids even think that by eating anything here make us smarter. The surrounding small landscape around the church was beautiful, clean and well maintained. The most popular tree that I remember there was “Cay Dau Do” – this tree leaves produced strong , “Mon Cau Ta”