The Office of the President held a press conference on the morning of October 1 to announce that Vice President Chen Chien-jen will lead a delegation to the Holy See from October 10-15 to attend the canonization ceremony of Cardinal John Henry Newman and four other blesseds.
During the press conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Kelly Wu-Chiao Hsieh (謝武樵) explained the planned itinerary, saying that the Holy See will hold the canonization ceremony for Cardinal John Henry Newman and four other blesseds on October 13. In light of the 77 years of formal diplomatic ties between the Republic of China and the Holy See, and the importance of our bilateral cooperation and exchanges, President Tsai has designated Vice President Chen, a devout Catholic, as her special envoy to convey sincere best wishes to the pope on behalf of the government, people, and Catholic community of Taiwan.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hsieh said that this visit has been codenamed the "Holy Virtue Project," as Vice President Chen will attend the canonization ceremony as a special envoy to commemorate the benevolence and virtue of the Catholic community's ancestors. The delegation will depart on the evening of October 10 and return to Taiwan in the early morning of October 15, with a four-day, three-night stay at the Holy See.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hsieh stated that the canonization ceremony is a religious event, and in keeping with Vatican convention and protocol, in addition to Vice President Chen, the official delegation will also include the vice president's wife and Mr. Hsieh himself, as well as the eight requisite support staff, for a total of 11 persons.
As to the focus of the vice president's agenda at the Holy See, Deputy Foreign Minister Hsieh said that the most important event will be attending the canonization ceremony. In keeping with Vatican convention, prior to and following the ceremony, the delegation head and spouse from each national delegation will have an audience with Pope Francis, and Vice President Chen and his wife will extend sincere congratulations to the pope on behalf of Taiwan's government, people, and Catholic community.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hsieh then said that during their visit to the Holy See, Vice President Chen and his wife will also visit the Embassy of the ROC (Taiwan) to the Holy See, see the embassy-organized "Light of the World Art Exhibit," meet with Taiwanese and foreign clerical personnel who previously served in Taiwan, and visit Catholic pilgrimage sites.
Deputy Minister Hsieh stated that in addition to Cardinal Newman, the Holy See will also canonize Daughters of Saint Camillus Founder Sister Giuseppina Vannini from Italy, Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family Founder Sister Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan from India, Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God from Brazil, and Marguerite Bays, a devout Catholic from Switzerland. Though they lived at different times in the 19th and 20th centuries, they all maintained a firm conviction in their faith, and strived to serve the lonely and promote love through their evangelization.
Deputy Minister Hsieh emphasized that during his visit, Vice President Chen will express Taiwan's sincere respect for the aforementioned five blesseds, and strengthen interactions and friendship between Taiwan and the Holy See.