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Bishop Paul Cheng (left), assisted by Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, blows candles on his birthday cake

Taiwan bishop marks episcopal golden jubilee

Margarita Chen, Tainan

July 28 2010

About 1,000 Catholics came together on July 24 to 50th episcopal anniversary and 95th birthday of Bishop Paul Cheng, retired bishop of Tainan diocese.

Bishop Cheng is "the first prelate in Taiwan Church history to celebrate his episcopal golden jubilee, and possibly one of the few in the world to do so," said Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, retired bishop of Kaohsiung, at the ceremony,

He noted that Bishop Cheng continues to celebrate daily Mass and serve as spiritual director for the Providence Sisters Catechists. He has also published his writings.

"This is a good example for clergy that one can still do a lot of things for the Church after retirement," said Cardinal Shan, addressing the gathering at the Salesian Technical School.

The celebration began with a Mass presided over by Bishop Cheng and concelebrated by about 70 bishops and priests across the island.

In his homily, Bishop Thomas Chung An-zu of Chiayi recalled how he and fellow seminarians used to look forward to their five-day summer trips, during which Bishop Cheng would share his priesthood experiences.

Precious Blood Sister Lucy Tsang, former procurator of Tainan diocese, recalled how Bishop Cheng set up a financial commission to monitor the use of Church funds.

The bishop also started a campaign among laypeople to promote prayer, preaching and donations, she said.

Monsignor Paul Fitzpatrick Russell, the Vatican's chargé d'affaires in Taiwan, read out a congratulatory message from Pope Benedict XVI, while a poem congratulating Bishop Cheng by Bishop John Huo Cheng of Fenyang in mainland China was also read out.

Bishop Cheng was:

• Born in Fenyang diocese, Shanxi province, in 1915

• Ordained a priest in 1943 and studied at Beijing's Fu Jen University

• Arrived in Taiwan in 1953 due to political turmoil in mainland China

• Consecrated Auxiliary Bishop of Taipei in 1960

• Installed Bishop of Tainan in 1966

• Retired in 1990

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