Taiwan vice president prays for world peace at mass in Assisi

Republic of China Vice President Chen Chien-jen (???) prayed for world peace Tuesday at a Catholic mass in Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi, during a visit to the Vatican.

At the mass in the San Francisco Monastery, Chen and his wife Luo Feng-ping (???) read the prayers, asking for peace across the Taiwan Strait and in the rest of the world.

The couple also prayed for Pope Francis and other officials in the Vatican, the people of Taiwan and the global environment.

Chen is a Catholic and took the English name Francis, same as the pope, after St. Francis of Assisi, a 12th century Italian Roman Catholic friar who was known for his affinity with nature and was said to have preached to birds.

The Vice President and his delegation arrived in Rome last Saturday on a one-week visit to the Vatican to attend the canonization ceremony of Mother Teresa on Sunday on behalf of President Tsai Ing-wen (???).

On arrival in the picturesque medieval walled city of Assisi about 170 kilometers north of Rome, Chen and his wife were greeted by Mauro Gambetti, custodian of the Assisi friary.

They were given a tour to the monastery and attended a mass there that was led by Taiwanese priest Chiu Tsung-chieh (???), who currently serves in the Vatican.

At the bookstore in the monastery, Chen and his wife bought a 105 cm San Damiano Cross that they plan to place in the 60-year old St. Mary Magdalene Church in Liukui Township, Kaohsiung, on their return to Taiwan.

During Chen's trip to the Vatican, he met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and discussed relations between Taiwan and its only European diplomatic ally, the Vatican. Parolin told Chen that the Vatican needs to engage in dialogue with Beijing for evangelistic and pastoral purposes.

On his current trip, Chen has stressed that Taiwan and the Vatican maintain "good and sustainable relations," amid speculations that the Vatican and China are moving toward establishing diplomatic relations.

Chen said his trip has helped reaffirm Taiwan's partnership and dialogue with the Vatican, a state with which Taiwan shares common core values.

Chen is scheduled to leave the Vatican on Wednesday and is expected to give a press conference at the airport on arrival in Taipei at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel