Taiwan Trip-Wednesday (Part 4)

After visiting the bishop’s office, we walked down the street to another building where a program for migrants was explained. The diocese has so many programs helping people! It is really wonderful!

One building housed a food pantry that operates on a large scale. Here one of the staff showed us a storeroom in the center.
The next stop was this center for people with disabilities. It has a coffee shop and also an area for selling bags, soap, handicrafts, and many other items made by the mostly young people with disabilities.
Bishop Martin (R) really went out of his way to welcome us and accompany us as we visited the different offices and programs in his diocese.
Our final stop for the day was a Chinese banquet at a hotel. It was delicious and also gave us a chance to talk more with some of the diocesan staff.

Taiwan Trip-Wednesday (Part 3)

The next stop was the bishop’s office.
The office staff had created a special banner just to welcome our group for our visit.
We toured the building and visited the circular chapel on the fourth floor.
A permanent exhibit on the ground floor presented the history of the early days of the Taichung Diocese and featured many Maryknollers.
Fr. John, one of the office staff, gave an interesting overview of the diocese.
Charlie and friend. This type of statue was featured in the Taichung Lantern Festival we visited Sunday night.

Taiwan Trip-Wednesday (Part 2)

The next stop on our afternoon tour was is the unofficial Filipino parish, a community center for refugee workers where they can gather.
Upstairs, in a large hall, 500 Filipino migrant workers gather for mass every Sunday.
The many decorations, statues, and pictures reflect the popular religious devotion of Filipino culture.
One wall has a display of angel statues, probably set up at Christmas time.
At the rear of the large hall, upstairs is an emergency shelter for women who are having employment or medical problems or legal issues.

Taiwan Trip-Wednesday (Part 1)

Today was a fascinating day. We started off with presentations in the morning on regional structures and priorities and then on regional finances. Then in the afternoon we had a wonderful tour of Maryknoll and church programs. It made me really proud to be part of Maryknoll and the Catholic Church.

After lunch we boarded a bus to take us around Taichung City.
Our first stop was the catheral for the diocese. Maryknoll built it in the 1950s.
The next stop was a five-story center for foreign migrant workers who encounter problems in their employment in Taiwan and need assistance. This a retraining area to teach commercial baking.
Another floor has training in commercial sewing.
Another section teaches massage.
This is an upstairs dormitory for emergency shelter for men appealing labor decisions or recovering from surgery or caught in legal employment situations.
Downstairs is a recreation area with exercise equipment and places to socialize and talk.

Taiwan Trip-Tuesday

The first full day of meetings started off with a report by the Maryknoll Superior General Lance Nadeau.
Fr. Joyalito is the Asia Region Superior and appeared throughout the day giving reports and guidance for the meetings.
In the afternoon all the participants at this meeting gave a brief overview of their lives and ministry at this time. This is Fr. Bob McCahill from Bangladesh.
The members gathered in the chapel for evening prayer before supper.
After supper there was a musical presentation by a string ensemble that is supported by Fr. Kurt Anderson. Here four of the six members are tuning up.

Taiwan Trip-Monday

The four of us (Kevin Conroy, Charles Tsai, Brian Barrons, Charlie Dittmeier) stayed overnight at the Maryknoll house in Taipei and gathered for breakfast. The group had hoped to see the Super Bowl before leaving for Taichung, but it was not on any of the available stations.
There was a 2 hour, 15 minutes drive south to Taichung, and then at 4:00 PM, there was an opening liturgy with the bishop of Taichung.
There are six young men from the Philippines, candidates for joining Maryknoll, staying at the Taipei house. They provided musical accompaniment for the mass.
Then there was a social gathering to allow us all to meet each other, either for the first time or to renew old acquaintances.
Then it was time to eat, and when the meal was finished, most headed for their rooms after a long day of traveling from the countries of east Asia.

Taiwan Trip-Sunday

The Maryknoll priests group is having an Asia Region Assembly 13-17 February 2023, and Fr. Kevin Conroy and I were invited even though we are no longer members of the Maryknoll Society. I flew Sunday, 12 February, from Phnom Penh to Taipei.

This is a sign on the desk at passport control when leaving Cambodia. No other country in the world has such a sign because it would be unthinkable to charge for checking a passport but officials in Cambodia thought it necessary to post this sign because in Cambodia officials do charge illegal payments (bribes, “tea money”) for almost every service citizens need.
I went to the Maryknoll house in Taipei and there was met by Henry Wong and Judy Wu, friends and colleagues from Hong Kong who are now resident in Taiwan.
Judy and Henry and their son Dominique then took me to dinner where we had time to catch up.
Then they took me to the Taiwan Lantern Festival, a two-week extravaganza of lights covering blocks and blocks of downtown Taichung.

The lights and displays were spectacular!

Back on the block…

Fr. Hung Nguyen was an associate priest with me starting in 2001 and then he returned to his diocese of Seattle. Now he is looking at possible Asian mission again and today he and I met with Bishop Olivier to discuss the possibility of Hung’s working with the English community here. I hope so!

A fried returns…

More than fifteen years ago, Fr. Hung Nguyen and I were Maryknoll associate priests together here in Cambodia. After his term, Hung returned to his diocese in Seattle, Washington where he has been pastor of different parishes. Now on a visit to Cambodia, he joined us today for our liturgy and dinner. Here he is speaking with Hang Tran, a Maryknoll lay missioner.