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Vice President Chen visits Loreto and Macerata, Italy
Vice President Chen visits Loreto and Macerata, Italy

On the morning of October 12 (Saturday) local time (afternoon of October 12, Taipei time), Vice President Chen Chien-jen, who is leading a delegation to attend the canonization of Cardinal John Henry Newman, traveled to the Territorial Prelature of Loreto to visit Archbishop Fabio Dal Cin, Prelate and Ponitifical Delegate of Loreto. That afternoon (evening of October 12, Taipei time), Vice President Chen then proceeded to the Diocese of Macerata to visit Bishop Nazzareno Marconi.

After arriving in the Diocese of Loreto, Vice President and Mrs. Chen were accompanied by Archbishop Dal Cin, Deputy Foreign Minister Kelly Wu-Chiao Hsieh (謝武樵), and ROC Ambassador to the Holy See Matthew S.M. Lee (李世明) to visit Loreto's Basilica della Santa Casa and museum. Vice President and Mrs. Chen then went to the Holy House of Loreto and took part in a mass where they prayed for Taiwan and joined the archbishop in reciting the Angelus. After the mass, the vice president shared lunch with the archbishop and welcomed him to visit Taiwan again.

In remarks, the vice president said that he had just met with Archbishop Dal Cin this past August at the Presidential Office in Taipei on the archbishop's first visit to Taiwan, and said it was a great honor to visit the world-famous shrine to the Virgin Mary in Loreto. Noting that Pope Francis has granted a year-long Jubilee for all pilgrims who travel to Loreto by air at any time from December 8, 2019 through December 10, 2020, and that the Jubilee will open when Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State for the Vatican, presides at the celebration of the opening of the Holy Door of the Jubilee, the vice president congratulated Archbishop Dal Cin and the Prelature of Loreto for this momentous year in the life of the Church. He expressed confidence that large numbers of pilgrims would come to Loreto during the Jubilee, and encouraged Catholics from Taiwan to make the pilgrimage if they get the opportunity.

Taiwan has a Holy House of Loreto in Touwu Township, Miaoli County. It is the only place in Asia that has been authorized by the Prelature of Loreto to build a full-scale reproduction of the shrine in Loreto, for which the vice president expressed gratitude. He also said that he had been to the Holy House of Loreto in Miaoli County many times with his family and other Catholics to receive blessings. In fact, he said, the Holy House of Loreto, besides emphasizing the importance of the family, also stresses the need to care for youth and children, so that families can love and help each other while basking in the Lord's light. For Catholics, this is a wonderful inspiration from the Lord.

Noting that the Bishops' Conference of Taiwan and the Holy House of Loreto in Miaoli County are both very happy to help the Prelature of Loreto provide a simultaneous broadcast in Taiwan of the opening of the Holy Door of the Jubilee on December 8, the vice president said that we are all really looking forward to the broadcast. Indeed, he said, social media such as YouTube and Twitter are very important, and to use social media to spread the Holy Mother's love throughout the land is a very good idea. "I'm very happy to see this idea carried out smoothly," said the vice president, who added that this will be an excellent area for cooperation in the future.

That afternoon, Vice President and Mrs. Chen proceeded to the Diocese of Macerata, where Bishop Nazzareno Marconi accompanied them on a visit to a Marian shrine. They prayed at the shrine before taking a tour of the Matteo Ricci Institute.

The vice president said he just met with Bishop Marconi at the Presidential Office during the latter's visit to Taiwan in August, and was happy to visit the historical Diocese of Macerata in Italy so soon thereafter. Macerata Diocese was also the birthplace of Jesuit Fr. Matteo Ricci, and has a deep connection to the culture of Chinese-speaking people. We have tremendous respect for Fr. Ricci's profound learning, the vice president said. He not only introduced China to Western philosophy and science, but also ushered in a new phase in Chinese civilization by producing the first world map in Chinese, a tremendous contribution.

The vice president went on to say that Fr. Ricci also coined the standard terms for the geometric concepts "point," "line," and "plane." Four hundred years later, we are still studying his works, a testament to his pervasive and far-reaching impact on future generations. Taiwan's National Central Library also has a Matteo Ricci & Pacific Studies Reading Room, so we hope to have more exchanges with the Diocese of Macerata.

Vice President Chen also emphasized the close ties between Taiwan and the Diocese of Macerata. The current Bishop and his predecessor have both visited Taiwan, and the diocesan Neocatechumenal Way headquarters has recently sent many of the faithful to Taiwan to help with missionary work. The vice president also welcomed Bishop Marconi to send more people to Taiwan to continue pastoral work and spread the Gospel, deepening our friendly ties.

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