Card. Filoni: The Pope's affection for Taiwan and Taiwan's for the Pope
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples was Papal envoy at the National Eucharistic Congress. At least 10 thousand Catholics participated in concluding Mass. The close link between the Eucharist and mission. Scheduled meetings with President Tsai Ying-wen, Vice President Chen Chien-jen and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.
Chiayi (AsiaNews) - Yesterday afternoon, the National Eucharistic Congress of the Catholic Church of Taiwan ended in the Yunlin County Stadium, Chiayi Diocese. Card. Fernando Filoni, the Pope's special envoy, expressed the sentiments of Pope Francis towards the faithful of Taiwan. "I would like to assure you," he said, "that even though he could not personally participate in this encounter, he gladly unites himself to us, with the same affection, esteem, and consideration he would have expressed in person".
At the end of the Congress, Card. Filoni asked the faithful if, when he meets the Pope, he will be able to communicate to him the love, the joy and the welcome of the faithful of Taiwan. And a warm applause and loud cheers immediately broke out. At this point the Cardinal replied by saying "thank you" twice in the Chinese language.
The Cardinal, who is prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, arrived the day before, greeted by the authorities of the island, to participate in the conclusion of the Eucharistic Congress.
Card. Filoni's visit takes place a few months after the ad limina visit of the bishops of Taiwan to the Pope. On that occasion, they invited the Pope himself to participate in the Eucharistic Congress. Later Pope Francis appointed Card. Filoni as his special envoy.
This 4th National Eucharistic Congress, hosted by the diocese of Chiayi, saw the presence of at least 10 thousand Catholics drawn from seven dioceses of the country. Among the faithful, there was also the vice president Chen Chien-jen (member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great) and his family members (see photo 3).
Yesterday, Card. Filoni presided over the Eucharist, the procession and the Eucharistic blessing, together with the conclusion.
In his homily, he recalled that the Eucharist is the sacrament of the intimate union of the life of Jesus Christ with the life of every believer; the celebration of the Eucharistic Congress reminds the faithful of the constant presence of Christ in their lives, in the hope that through the Gospel and the Eucharist, the faithful approach with joy, respect and understanding to all the brothers and sisters they meet.
The Cardinal invited the faithful not to consider the closing ceremony of the Congress as a conclusion, but a new beginning for the proclamation of the Gospel, setting out immediately, inviting relatives, friends and colleagues, baptized or not yet, to participate together in sharing and spreading the Gospel. The next Taiwan Eucharistic Congress will be held in Tainan.
Card. Filoni stays in Taiwan until tomorrow 3 March. Meetings are scheduled with President Tsai Ying-wen, with vice-president Chen Chien-jen and with Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.