On June 19, 1995, Father John Rogers, a Catholic priest, made a trip to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in northern California to gaze reverently upon the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua’s visage. He also held a Catholic Mass in the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas in memory of the Master.
Father Rogers is a Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies and Chaplain of the Newman Association at Humboldt State University of California. He has visited China and other parts of Asia, and has met with many contemporary political and religious leaders. Father Rogers has known Master Hua for many years and feels the Master is very broad-minded and tolerant of other religions.
At 12:30 in the afternoon on June 19, Father Rogers held mass in the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the pure whiteness of his flowing priest’s robe reflecting the dazzle of the ten thousand golden Buddha statues on the walls. This was exactly what the Master had advocated, that “the members of different religions should work together to rescue mankind and avert calamities. Don’t divide into factions and strive for supremacy.”
Father Rogers performed the thirty-minute mass in tribute to the Master’s teaching and transforming of living beings, and also to pray for world peace. After the mass was over, Father Rogers went to the Hall of No Words, where he paid his respects to the Master and gazed upon the Master’s visage.
During his life, the Master invited Catholics to hold mass in the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas many times. The Master also invited Catholic priests, Christian ministers and pastors, and Buddhists to participate in conferences and dialogues for the purpose of furthering their mutual communication and understanding. On June 17 when the Master’s casket was transported from Los Angeles and welcomed back to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Tom Macmillan, Christian minister of the Methodist Church in Willits, also came to the City to pay his respects to the Master.