The Grace of Taiwan
“In all situations say to yourself: God has put me in this state, he gives me these obligations, so in His fidelity He will grant me the grace to fulfill them.”
St. Vincent Pallotti
27 September 2018 • Taiwan
It was the month that began hoping against hope; the month that signified the rebuilding of God’s Church and His people in our Pallottine Mission. The Bishop of the Diocese of Chiayi- Most Rev. Thomas Chung- appointed me Pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Church, in Shilu Ban, Taiwan. 65 years ago, it had a large following thanks to a great Belgian priest. However, ever so gradually priests no longer were sent, and without a Shepard, so too did the people diminish.
5 years ago it was going to be closed, but the Bishop held on to great hope and feared not; there was an influx of 120 Vietnamese Catholic immigrants knocking on the Church’s Tabernacle. They were a lamp burning brightly in a dim situation: still, there were no priests to permit for regular Masses, and structures of the buildings were deteriorating quickly. Surely the pattern of Catholics unwillingly diminishing would begin again. Then, he called me.
Upon taking over this mission in service of God and His flock, I- along with a nun and a few faithful- started visiting our parishioners houses for family prayer meetings. Above all, we also regularized Sunday Masses for both the Taiwanese and the Vietnamese, and erected the Parish Pastoral Council, Legion of Mary, and the youth group. The path was arduous; sleep was short. But “His power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).
As we spiritually reconstructed, so too did we physically; the center’s roof and windows were blown during the typhoon, leaving the place too dangerous for gatherings. There were no toilets in the parochial house where the priests lived because of rats and bats.
But for those that work for the glory of the Kingdom, “the old things are passed away; behold, they become new” (2 Cor 5:17).
On August 13, 2018, we inaugurated the renovation of the Church, Pastoral Center, parochial house, toilets, and even a stock room.
This is the hand of God. For the “greater the tribulations, the greater the grace, and the greater the glory” (St. Vincent Pallotti).