New Leadership In Taiwan Dioceses As Archbishop Ti-Kang Retires

2004-01-26 00:00:00

New bishops have been appointed for Taipei archdiocese and Tainan diocese, in southern Taiwan.

On Jan. 24, the third day of the Lunar New Year, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Joseph Cheng Tsai-fa of Tainan the new archbishop of Taipei.

In making the appointment, the pope accepted the resignation of Archbishop Joseph Ti-Kang of Taipei, who had sent his letter of resignation to the pope in mid-2002, before he reached 75 in May 2003. Canon law requires bishops to request retirement upon reaching 75.

Auxiliary Bishop Bosco Lin Chi-nan of Kaohsiung has been appointed the new bishop of Tainan, Monsignor Ambrose Madtha, charge d´affaires at the Taipei-based Apostolic Nunciature in China, told UCA News Jan. 26.

Monsignor Madtha said he hoped the bishops would "continue the good work which has been done so far and emphasize evangelization in their dioceses." Installation dates have not been set, but Monsignor Madtha pointed out that according to canon law, installation should take place within two months of an episcopal appointment.

Bishop Lin, 60, told UCA News Jan. 26 he is happy to head Kaohsiung´s neighboring diocese based in Tainan, about 300 kilometers southwest of Taipei. "I accept the appointment. It is for the same Church anywhere, no matter whether it is Kaohsiung or Tainan," he said.

The bishop was ordained a priest in Rome by Pope Paul VI in 1973 and returned to serve in Kaohsiung diocese the following year. In 1977, he was named deputy secretary general of the episcopal conference in Taiwan, and in 1981, chancellor of Kaohsiung diocese.

The late Archbishop Joseph Cheng Tien-hsiang of Kaohsiung appointed him vicar general of the diocese in 1988. Following the archbishop´s death in August 1990, Bishop Lin, then a priest, served as administrator of the diocese until the following June, when Jesuit Bishop Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, now a cardinal, was installed as head of Kaohsiung.

Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Lin as auxiliary bishop of Kaohsiung in 1992. Born in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, he was the second Taiwan-born bishop in the history of the Catholic Church in Taiwan. The first was the late Bishop Joseph Lin Thien-chu of Chiayi, southwestern Taiwan.

The new Tainan bishop expects his installation will take place after Archbishop Cheng´s. He describes the new appointments as "significant events for the Church in Taiwan."

He plans to meet Church people in Tainan after the Lunar New Year holidays end in late January to discuss future plans for the diocese.

Archbishop Cheng was born on July 4, 1932, in Xiamen, Fujian province, across the Strait of Taiwan in eastern mainland China. He was ordained a priest in 1957 and appointed bishop of Tainan in 1990.

Monsignor Madtha said he had not heard any news about the pope appointing a coadjutor or new auxiliary bishop for Kaohsiung to assist Cardinal Shan, who has already reached 80. Bishop Philip Huang Jaw-ming, another former auxiliary bishop of Kaohsiung, was installed bishop of Hualien in February 2002.

Father Francis Suen Ching-chien, vicar general of Tainan, told UCA News that Archbishop Cheng told him of his new appointment on Jan. 24. The 80-year-old priest said he hoped the archbishop would adapt easily to his new post, since "Taipei is a big place, while Tainan is only a small diocese."

Admitting that less than 1,000 of the officially registered 16,000 parishioners in Tainan diocese are active churchgoers, Father Suen said he hoped Bishop Lin would adopt a more "open" approach to evangelization, especially to attract children. "There are very few churchgoers in parishes, with 200 parishioners the most and less than 20 in some churches," he said.

Taipei archdiocese has 82,000 Catholics.


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