Taiwan vice president to attend canonization ceremony in Vatican

10/01/2019 06:52 PM
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Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁, front, center)
Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁, front, center)

Taipei, Oct. 1 (CNA) Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) will attend the canonization of late British Cardinal John Henry Newman and four others on Oct. 13 in Vatican City, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Chen, who has been designated by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) as her special envoy, will depart Taiwan on Oct. 10 at the head of an 11-member delegation for a visit to the Holy See, during which he is expected to meet with Pope Francis, according to the ministry.

As has been done in the past, Pope Francis will individually receive the heads of all delegations before or after the canonization ceremony, Deputy Foreign Minister Kelly Hsieh (謝武樵) said at a press conference.

During Chen's four-day visit, he will again invite the pope to visit Taiwan, Hsieh said, in response to reporters' questions on that matter.

Chen is also scheduled to inspect Taiwan's embassy in the Holy See and attend an ongoing arts exhibition there, meet with priests and nuns who have served in Taiwan, and visit a number of holy sites in Vatican City, Hsieh said.

On Oct. 13, Pope Francis will canonize Cardinal Newman, a 19th century British theologian and poet; Indian Sister Marian Thresia, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family; Italian Sister Giuseppina Vannini; Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes; and Marguerite Bays, a Swiss consecrated virgin of the Third Order of St. Francis.

Chen's upcoming visit to the Holy See, Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in Europe, will be his third since he took office as vice president in May 2016. He attended the canonization of Mother Teresa in September 2016 and Pope Paul VI in October 2018.

Chen was made a knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 2010 and a knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 2013, in recognition of his efforts in the fight against an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Taiwan in 2003 and his academic achievements.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Joseph Yeh)


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