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Floating ‘water chapel’ to serve tourists

The project aims to raise money to help disabled children

Artist's rendition of a proposed new water chapel Artist's rendition of a proposed new water chapel
  • Francis Kuo, Taichung
  • Taiwan
  • June 19, 2012
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Bishop Martin Su Yao-wen of Taichung signed a memorandum of cooperation recently with a local ship-building company to produce a floating Catholic “water chapel.”

Able to hold 48 people, the “water chapel,” will sail on Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan’s second-largest body of water, to serve tourists and pilgrims.

James Liao, organizer of the chapel project, said the idea is “to echo Pope Benedict XVI’s call to provide pastoral care for tourists and to serve as a means of evangelization.”

The chapel is scheduled to be inaugurated at the end of this year and will become a venue for Sunday Masses, weddings and sightseeing services, Liao said.

There are several temples and a small Presbyterian church dotted around the lake, but no Catholic one.

The cost of the chapel, which will mostly be made of glass, is estimated to be NT$12 million (US$402,000) with half the money coming from government subsidies and the other half from donations.

The glass chapel will be on the deck of a 14-meter long and 4.6-meter wide catamaran. There will be solar panels on the chapel’s roof to generate electricity to light the boat.

The project is aimed at raising funds to look after 500 mentally and physically disabled children in eight Catholic-run institutions.

Liao said the “water chapel” is also meant to commemorate the life of Maryknoll Father Richard Zeimet (1930-2012) who dedicated his life to helping local young people after establishing the Holy Love Camp 37 years ago.

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