At 7 p.m. on September 4 local time (1 a.m. on September 5, Taipei time), Vice President Chen Chien-jen and his wife hosted a banquet at the A.Roma Lifestyle Hotel in Italy for Taiwanese clergy members and leaders of the expatriate community in the Vatican and Italy.
In remarks, Vice President Chen started by stating that he was visiting the Vatican as the emissary of President Tsai Ing-wen, and is representing the Republic of China (ROC) as head of a delegation that attended the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. While at the ceremony, on behalf of President Tsai, his fellow Taiwanese Catholics, and all the people of Taiwan, Vice President Chen extended greetings to Pope Francis. As a member of the Catholic Church, said the vice president, he feels greatly honored.
Vice President Chen said that Mother Teresa devoted her entire life to the poor, fully demonstrating the Catholic Church's spirit of brotherly love and leaving behind a world that misses her deeply. Quoting a well-known statement of Mother Teresa's—we cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love, the vice president declared that we can in fact do great things with great love if we will only maintain kind hearts.
Vice President Chen also mentioned that the Vatican is an important diplomatic ally for the ROC. Official ties date back 74 years, and the two countries share a commitment to freedom of religion, compassion, and kindness. The ROC government will continue to promote closer ties with the Vatican, and would be happy to collaborate with the Vatican throughout the world in support of the universal values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and brotherly love, thereby strengthening our bilateral partnership for humanitarianism and charity.
Vice President Chen encouraged those in attendance to stay in closer touch with Taiwan's diplomats at the Embassy to the Holy See and the Taipei Representative Office in Italy. Everyone is welcome, he said, to offer suggestions and contribute to Taiwan's official relations and substantive ties with the Vatican and Italy.
And finally, Vice President Chen represented President Tsai in raising a glass to wish for a lasting friendship between the ROC and the Vatican, and for the health and good fortune of the assembled guests.
The Taipei Philharmonic Chamber Choir performed at the banquet, singing many beautiful songs that won enthusiastic applause and endless calls for an encore. Banquet guests were especially moved to hear pop classics from Taiwan, including Ye Lai Xiang ("the tuberose") and Yueliang Daibiao Wo de Xin ("the moon represents my heart"). Vice President and Mrs. Chen took to the stage to shake hands with all the choir members and take photos with them, and to thank them for their excellent performance.
Among the roughly 170 persons attending the banquet were: Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; Ambassador Camillo Zuccoli of the Taiwan-Italy Parliamentary Friendship Group, and his wife; Commissioner Liu Hung-yuan (留鴻源) of the ROC Overseas Community Affairs Council; Fu Jen Catholic University President Dr. Vincent Han-Sun Chiang (江漢聲); a delegation led by Bishop Bosco Lin Chi-nan (林吉男) of Tainan Diocese in Taiwan; Taiwanese artists Luo Kuang-wei (羅廣維) and Yang Bi-qi (楊碧棋); and ROC diplomats (and their family members) from the Embassy to the Holy See and the Taipei Representative Office in Italy.