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Lim Gabriel wrote:

Hi, guys —

I want to confirm advice I was given by a Jesuit priest many years ago. I am a Chinese Catholic and during my RCIA, someone posed this question:

  • Is it alright for a Chinese Catholic attending a Chinese funeral to use Joss sticks to pray to the departed as a sign of respect?

The Jesuit replied saying according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church it is perfectly alright to use joss sticks as a mark of respect to the deceased, following Chinese customs and traditions, but your prayers when carrying the joss sticks must be to the Lord, the Blessed Mother, some other saint, etc.

Recently, my son's Godfather asked me the same question, as he is also attending a Chinese funeral, and I told him it is perfectly alright to use joss sticks but he should say a silent prayer to the Lord when doing so.

  • Am I correct?

Thank you.

Lim Gabriel

  { Can a Chinese Catholic attending a Chinese funeral use Joss sticks to pray to the departed? }

Mike replied:

Hi Lim,

I'm not familiar with the term but based on what I've briefly read, and in lieu of the intent you have, I see no problems using them.

As a side note: We are well aware of the trails you are going through in Communist China.

We usually refer people to their local diocese but seeing your visible diocese is run by a Communist government, I wouldn't recommend it. If you can find an underground priest who is faithful to the Church who can assist you, that may be the best thing.

What your Jesuit friend told you sounds correct.

Take care,

You will be in our prayers.


Lim replied:

Dear Mike,

Thank you for your reply.

By the way, I am not from China but Malaysia. We have no underground churches here.
All above board.

Peace of the Lord be with you.



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