Pastor: ‘I wish I could’ve brought the whole parish’

April 27, 2014 4:23 am Last Updated: April 27, 2014 6:52 am

PHILADELPHIA—Father Edward Bryce, the pastor of St. Bede Roman Catholic Church, said he had waited a year before finally seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts on April 25 at the Merriam Theater, and he was quite enthused.

“I saw it advertised last year and was interested but did not have the opportunity, but this year I saw it advertised,” Father Bryce said. “I was so impressed that I went and bought a whole row of tickets —11. I’m here with 10 of my parishioners and friends, and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening.”

“I just wish I could’ve brought the whole parish,” he added. 

Shen Yun is a non-profit, New York based classical Chinese music and dance company that tours for six months of each year to over 100 cities in some 20 countries, putting on exhilarating performances with a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. 

“A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops—together creating one spectacular performance,” says the Shen Yun website.

“I just thoroughly enjoyed the young people. They’re very graceful, very skilled,” Father Bryce said about the Shen Yun dancers. He quipped that he was “jealous” of their abilities, slim figures, and liveliness.”

Chinese civilization, which has been uninterrupted for 5,000 years, is thought by many to be divinely inspired, and Shen Yun presents these spiritual traditions on stage.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that it was presenting the tradition—the culture is never interpreted through movies and the newspapers—and their great beauty, and the fact that they share a belief in God, the Creator. The way is different, but the common value is there, and I have great compassion for the people who cannot practice Falun Gong in China,” Father Bryce said.

The plight of Falun Gong practitioners and the persecution they suffer at the hand of the communist regime in China is also depicted in Shen Yun. 

Father Bryce continued: “I’ve learned and heard from people that are far better than I that the Chinese are a patient people. And eventually even this regime will come to its senses and let the people have the freedom because there’s no hope in a communist vision.”

While Shen Yun aspires to revive the essence of Chinese culture, the Chinese Communist Party has attempted to encumber the dance and music company year after year. 

A section of Shen Yun’s website called “Challenges We Face” explains: “Since the CCP is officially an atheist regime, it is afraid of the freedom of expression this arts company enjoys in the West.”

Father Bryce appears to be astute to this challenge, and he further applauds Shen Yun for persevering.

“It was a very beautiful presentation, and I salute the people who have struggled to present it, and I know that [Shen Yun] works under pressure from [the Chinese], that the regime sends over to spy on [Shen Yun], but this is a country with freedom and we hope we never lose it—but there’s always people that want to take it away from you,” he said.

“Pride and greed are a common human failure, and it’s only in hope and generosity, dialogue and forgiveness, that there’s hope for the future,” said Father Bryce.

Reporting by NTD Television and Albert Roman

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts. 

The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.