Taiwan’s vice president attends Mother Teresa’s canonization mass

Republic of China Vice President Chen Chien-jen and his wife attended Mother Teresa of Calcutta's canonization mass in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Pope Francis said that "we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a saint and we enroll her among the saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole church," for the iconic figure's tireless work for mercy. And he told the attendees: "May she be your model of holiness."

The Albanian nun founded the Missionaries of Charity order in Kolkata in 1950. The order currently runs more than 750 homes, hospices and shelters in some 130 countries around the world.

The Taipei Philharmonic Chorus joined forces with the Sistine Chapel Choir to sing Catholic hymns, as Matthew Chiang, a Caritas Taiwan official, read the prayer in Chinese at the mass prayers.

Chen also planned to give the pope books and DVDs about Pope Francis and the Catholic Church, including a book on the late Argentine priest Ricardo Ferreira, who devoted 25 years of his life to serving the people of Kinmen County until he died of cancer in June 2006 at the age of 80.

At the invitation of the Holy See, Chen traveled to the Vatican on behalf of President Tsai Ing-wen to attend the canonization ceremony.

Chen said he was shocked and awed when he heard Mother Teresa's words: "Go home and love your family" in response to the question: "What can we do to promote world peace?" when she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

On another occasion, Chen donated a check to the Missionaries of Charity on behalf of someone else, and later received a card in reply bearing her signature. Mother Teresa wrote that the envelope had been opened and that the check inside was gone. "It might be that someone needy had taken it," she wrote. Chen said he learned a lesson from Teresa's forgiveness and tolerance.

On Sept. 5, Chen will attend a mass in St. Peter's Square at 10 a.m. to mark the first feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta held by the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. He will also call on the Republic of China Embassy there and dine with high-ranking clergy.

On Sept. 6, he will visit Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi, where he will attend a mass to be held at San Francisco Monastery.

Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council