Taipei (AsiaNews) - More than 5,000 people took part
in Card Shan Kuo-hsi's funeral on Saturday. Vatican officials, two cardinals
from Hong Kong and other religious as well as political leaders attended the
ceremony, which was held in the gym of St Dominic High School in Kaohsiung.
During the service, Mgr Liu Cheng-chung (劉掁忠), bishop of Kaohsiung,
explained that "having made a vow of poverty, Shan Kuo-hsi asked for a simple
funeral without pomp and ceremony." Only candles and the crucifix were allowed,
no flowers or fancy decorations were accepted.
His 86-year-old sister Shan Ai-yun （單愛雲）came from the mainland to give her beloved brother a final farewell. Mgr
Savio Hon Tai-Fai (韓大輝), secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation
of Peoples, Card Joseph Zen Ze-kiun (陳日君), former bishop
of Hong Kong as well as Hong Kong's other cardinal, Mgr John Tong Hon (湯漢), were also present at the service.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) sent a plaque in memory of the late cardinal, as a token of his
gratitude for the cardinal's contribution to Taiwanese society.
Buddhist Master Xing Yun (釋星雲) also thanked
Cardinal Shan for the friendship and generosity he showed to the people of
Taiwan as builder of peace and a great educator. "Humble and merciful, he was a
truly great friend."
Mgr Paul Russell, the delegate of the Holy See to
Taiwan, read a message of deep sorrow from the Secretary of State Cardinal
Tarcisio Bertone for the loss of the great evangeliser, a great point of
reference among Chinese Catholics.
Many ordinary believers, including many Taiwanese aborigines
in their traditional clothing, came from various parts of the island to pay
As bishop of Hualian and Kaohsiung, the cardinal was
well known and appreciated. He was especially held in high esteem because of
his tireless visits to young people and the many conferences in which he bore
witness to his faith and love for life in his last few years when, already suffering
from the disease that would eventually take him, he became an example of hope.
The most moving moment in the funeral came when a
recorded video was played in which Card Shan spoke reassuringly to his flock. "I
fought and I have no remorse for my battle for life. I have had ups and downs
and I ask for forgiveness from the bottom of my heart for things I have not
With his usual humour, he thanked participants, and
told them, "I now lay in my coffin with my two empty hands, with which I can
carry only what I accomplished in my life." (如今躺在棺材中兩手空空，能帶去的只是一生的功過而已）.
At one point, emotions became overwhelming when for
the last time, the bishop could be seen and his calm voice heard for a last
Along with adults and senior citizens, many young
people were present to show how much the cardinal had trust in them. This is a
sign of great hope for the Church in Taiwan.