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Interfaith concert supports Taiwan’s earthquake victims

April 3 quake was the strongest in 25 years, leaving nine dead, dozens injured and many buildings damaged
Taiwanese Bishop Philip Huang Chao-ming of Hualien leads a prayer at the interfaith concert for victims of the earthquake on May 5.

Taiwanese Bishop Philip Huang Chao-ming of Hualien leads a prayer at the interfaith concert for victims of the earthquake on May 5. (Photo: Archdiocese of Taipei)

Published: May 08, 2024 05:51 AM GMT
Updated: May 08, 2024 06:36 AM GMT

Buddhists and Catholics in Taiwan came together to organize a special concert to support the victims of a devastating earthquake that hit the island last month.

Titled “Religious Prayer Concert for the 0403 Earthquake: Musical Blessings from the Pacific Shore,” the charity event in the capital Taipei on May 5 was a collaboration between Hualien Catholic Diocese and the United Association of Humanistic Buddhism, Chunghua, The Merit Times reported on May 6.

The concert was originally planned to take place in Hualien but was relocated to Taipei due to ongoing aftershocks and disruptions in transportation.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful in 25 years, caused significant damage to buildings and infrastructure in the eastern region of Taiwan.

The quake reportedly killed 9 and injured dozens of people.

During the concert, the Catholic team was led by Bishop Philip Huang Chao-ming of Hualien that included priests, nuns and representatives from various performing groups who sang hymns and recited prayers to show solidarity with the community in Hualien, one of the worst-hit regions.

"There are many indigenous members in Hualien Church, and through the concert they can directly feel everyone's care and encouragement because they too like to express their happiness and difficulties by singing," Bishop Huang was quoted as saying by The Merit Times.

Featuring a diverse and fusion program, the performances that covered Buddhist sacred music, Catholic hymns, indigenous music, and dance attracted a global audience, with nearly ten thousand people watching online and in person.

Despite the diverse religious beliefs, all are part of the same human family, Monsignor Paul Fitzmaurice, acting Apostolic Nuncio to Taiwan, said after the concert.

Highlighting the importance to support Hualien during its long road to recovery, Venerable Tzu Jung, secretary-general of the United Association of Humanistic Buddhism, said he hoped the concert will help boost the spirits and confidence of Hualien's residents to overcome adversity in this difficult time.

At the concert, the Buddhist association passed donations collected for the earthquake victims to the Hualien County government and to Hualien diocese for the restoration of the scenic beauty of the affected areas.

The earthquake on April 3 was felt across the entire island and damaged many buildings. It prompted Taiwan, Japan, and Philippines to issue tsunami warnings, which were later lifted.

In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan and killed 2,400, making it the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s history.

Taiwan has an estimated population of 23.9 million with Christians accounting for four percent, including about 300,000 Catholics.

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