150th anniversary of evangelization of Taiwan
November 17, 2009
Pope Benedict has appointed 85-year-old Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, as his special envoy for the celebration of the sesquicentenary of the evangelization of Taiwan, the democratic island nation 100 miles off the coast of the Communist People’s Republic of China. Cardinal Tomko will be principal celebrant of a solemn Mass on November 22.
Evangelization proceeded slowly until 1859 until 1949, when numerous Nationalists fled mainland China for the island in the wake of Mao Zedong’s Marxist takeover. Pope Pius XII established Taiwan’s hierarchy in 1952; today, 1.3% of the nation’s 22.3 million inhabitants are Catholic, with 691 priests, 84 seminarians, and 1,065 nuns-- in all, 306,000 Catholics. As a sign of the continued spread of the Gospel, one bishop dedicated seven new chapels in an indigenous region of the nation last week.
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