Upon his return from the Vatican, Vice President Chen Chien-jen issued remarks in the early morning hours of October 16 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. He explained the trip's achievements, and thanked Taiwanese business people and other expatriates for their hard work while living abroad, which reflects well on our country. He also thanked colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their dedicated efforts and the Holy See for giving him such a warm reception, which ensured a smooth and successful trip.
The following is a translation of Vice President Chen's remarks:
I want to thank everyone for coming out to the airport to meet us so early in the morning.
This trip to the Vatican was smooth and successful. The canonization ceremony for Pope Paul VI and six other saints was a magnificent occasion, with over 100,000 people on hand, including over 100 pilgrimage groups and special envoys from Spain, German, Italy, El Salvador, Honduras, and Bolivia.
Before the canonization ceremony, as the special envoy and head of our delegation and accompanied by my wife, I had an audience with Pope Francis, conveying congratulations and greetings from the president, the government, the people, and the Catholic brethren of Taiwan. I also invited the pope to visit Taiwan if his schedule permits to bless the people of Taiwan, and he responded very cordially and graciously. And during the canonization ceremony, I exchanged greetings with the special envoys and heads of delegations from more than 10 countries.
During the trip, I met with many high-ranking clergy and discussed cooperative projects including humanitarian and charitable assistance, cultural exchanges, and interfaith dialogue that Taiwan and the Holy See have jointly promoted in recent years. They all commended Taiwan's contributions and efforts, emphasizing the close cooperation between Taiwan and the Vatican while praising Taiwan as the Holy See's important partner in providing humanitarian and charitable aid.
On this visit we held a mass "to pray for Taiwan and world peace" in the Chapel of the Choir of St. Peter's Basilica. The mass was led by Bishop Thomas An-zu Chung (鍾安住) of the Chiayi Diocese. We also attended a mass dedicated to "protecting the global environment and sustainable development for humankind," held in the Polish Chapel of Our Lady of Czestochowa, with Father Giovanni Chiu (邱琮傑) as the celebrant. My wife and I prayed to God to bless and protect the people of Taiwan and ensure world peace and global sustainable development.
We also visited the Montecassino Abbey of the Order of Saint Benedict, a symbol of peace, and prayed before the tombs of Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica, asking God to guide the two sides of the Taiwan Strait toward the path of peaceful dialogue, so that we can work together for the well-being and economic prosperity of people on both sides.
I was very happy to meet with priests, monks, and nuns from Taiwan, as well as Taiwanese business people and other expatriates living and working in Italy, and expressed the utmost respect and gratitude on behalf of the government for their hard work while living abroad, which reflects well on our country. We hope they will continue to support Taiwan overseas, so that Taiwan can shine on the global stage, and the whole world can see Taiwan.
Finally, I want to thank Chargé d'Affaires a.i. Monsignor Slađan Ćosić and Attaché Reverend Father Giuseppe Silvestrini of the Apostolic Nunciature in Taiwan for their help, as well as our colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ROC Embassy to the Holy See, and the Taipei Representative Office in Italy for their efforts. We also want to thank the Vatican for its warm reception and hospitality, which ensured a smooth and successful visit.
The Republic of China, based on the universal values of peace, democracy, freedom, and human rights, will continue to be an indispensable partner for the Vatican and for all countries in the world in promoting freedom of religion and world peace.
Also on hand to greet Vice President Chen were Deputy Secretary-General to the President Liu Chien-sin (劉建忻), Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉), St. Christopher and Nevis Ambassador to the ROC Jasmine Elise Huggins, and Reverend Father Giuseppe Silvestrini.