Vice President Chen Chien-jen completed his visit to the Holy See and returned to Taiwan in the early morning hours of October 15, delivering remarks at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. He said that in addition to conveying President Tsai Ing-wen's congratulations and greetings to Pope Francis, he met with many high-ranking clergy and exchanged views regarding cooperative projects that Taiwan and the Holy See have jointly promoted including humanitarian assistance, and environmentally sustainable development. The vice president thanked our colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic missions for their efforts, as well as the Holy See and the Archbishop of Loreto and the Bishop of Macerata for their warm hospitality, which ensured a smooth and successful visit.
A translation of the vice president's remarks follows:
Thank you all very much for coming to the airport so early in the morning to welcome us. The trip went smoothly, and was a great success. I especially want to thank our staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at our overseas diplomatic missions, and other organizations involved for all of your thoughtful arrangements.
As the special envoy and head of our delegation, I had an audience with Pope Francis before the canonization ceremony, accompanied by my wife. I conveyed congratulations and greetings from President Tsai, the government, the people, and the Catholic brethren of Taiwan, and also assured the Pope that the people of Taiwan, and our Catholic brethren in particular, often pray for him, and for peace and freedom throughout the world. During the canonization ceremony, I exchanged greetings with the special envoys and heads of delegations from other nations.
During the trip, I met with many high-ranking clergy and exchanged views regarding cooperative projects that Taiwan and the Holy See have jointly promoted in recent years including humanitarian assistance, human trafficking prevention, cultural exchanges, interfaith dialogue, and environmentally sustainable development. They all commended Taiwan's contributions and efforts on many fronts, and praised Taiwan for its democracy, rule of law, religious freedom, human rights safeguards, and environmental protection. On behalf of President Tsai, we also invited Pope Francis to make a pastoral visit to Taiwan.
On this visit we attended a mass to pray for "protection of the global environment and sustainable development," held at the Chapel of St. Peter in St. Peter's Basilica, with Father Giovanni Chiu (邱琮傑) and Father Gino Picca (王秉鈞) as the celebrants. My wife and I prayed for God to continue to ensure protection of the global environment and sustainable development, spur cross-strait peace, and enable Chinese-speaking Catholics to enjoy complete freedom of belief in their lives.
We also traveled to Loreto to visit the Holy House of Loreto, a famous Marian shrine. There we prayed to the Holy Mother Mary that she might guide the two sides of the Taiwan Strait toward the path of peaceful dialogue, and asked her to enable people throughout the world to enjoy religious freedom, democracy, rule of law, human rights, and dignity. During the Liturgy of the Word, I asked our Merciful Father to fill the hearts of the people and our public servants with wisdom and mercy, that Taiwan might flourish and prosper in the future.
During this trip, I was very happy to meet over dinner with priests, members of religious orders, and nuns from Taiwan working or studying at the Holy See, as well as with foreign clergy members previously engaged in missionary work in Taiwan. On behalf of the government, I sincerely thanked them for their long years of selfless dedication to Taiwan's society and its people. I also expressed hope that they are taking good care of their health overseas, and that, in addition to performing their duties, they will also remember to pray for Taiwan. I told the clergy currently at the Vatican that Taiwan will always be their home, and that we hope they will come back to Taiwan to visit often.
Finally, I want to thank Chargé d'Affaires a.i. Monsignor Arnaldo Catalan and 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 Holy See as well as the Archbishop of Loreto and the Bishop of Macerata for their warm hospitality, which ensured a smooth and successful visit. Thanks and praise be to God.
The Republic of China (Taiwan) will continue cooperating with the Holy See and other countries to uphold freedom, democracy, rule of law, human rights, and peace. This is the greatest aspiration of our trip to the Holy See. We also hope that the world will become freer, more democratic, rule of law, prosperous and peaceful.
Among those at the airport to greet Vice President Chen and the delegation were Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Deputy Secretary-General to the President Shih Keh-her (施克和), Nicaraguan Ambassador to Taiwan William Manuel Tapia Aleman (head of Taiwan's foreign diplomatic corps), Charge d'Affaires a.i. Monsignor Catalan, and Reverend Father Silvestrini.