FCAO Meeting: A Pilgrimage From China To Taiwan and From Minority To Brotherhood


With intention to know a little about Taiwan and the Franciscan in Taiwan I arrived one day earlier (September 20) of the Meeting that started from September 22-26, 2014 and left two days after the meeting on September 28. I was one of the brothers who left last.

The generosity of Br. Sutardja brought me to Suwarnamphumi airport. Since he stays in Sampran community it was good for sharing together. China Airlines brought me safely to Taipei airport. Br. Francis a candidate of deacon from Taiwan was waiting me there with big writing “OFM”. Easily I recognized it. Together with him was Br. Benedict from Sri Lanka who had arrived just before I arrived. All together we waited Br. Yusuf from Pakistan which his flight was late other one hour.

20140920_174523_resizedBr. Francis brought us to Franciscan Spiritual Center at Daxi, Tao Yuan province, around one hour from Taipei city. It was not without reason if the friars have chosen this place as spiritual center. From the name itself Daxi means big river. From the friary we can see a big river down there and three bridges connect Daxi with other town there. One of the three bridges the call old bridge that they do not use anymore for the cars passing. It is only for the people, a kind of tourist attraction. This bridge is called also “love bridge” because you can find many couples spend time together there.

Tao Yuan (Tao: a kind of flower; Yuan: garden) means a garden with a kind of beautiful flower. just an expression that Tao Yuan is a beautiful place to live. I think it is a reason also why Chiang Khai Sek chose Tao Yuan as his summer palace. In this place also his body is kept.

Most of the friars arrived on Saturday but in different time. Small number would arrive following day.

I was happy able to join the mass that is on some compound with the friary and retreat center. The mass is of course in Mandarin. This mandarin is older than mandarin in mainland China. Even I did not understand at least I can know different kind of community with their own way of prayer and worship. This is the richness of Catholic Church.

Since it was Saturday and Sunday so no friars welcomed us in retreat center. The friars were busy with different ministries. Br. Claudio the provincial just appeared on Sunday evening during the dinner. Monday morning during the morning prayer and mass we were able to see each other. The breakfast was time to say hallo and introduce to each other.

20140923_104318_resized_1All together were 24 participants from Asia, Oceania and Australia. Unfortunately the provincial of Indonesia, Custos of West Papua and Custos of PNG could not come.    Beside the provincials, custos and presidents of foundation, were also the secretary of Formation, JPIC and Mission and Evangelization from both Conferences: East and South.

The meeting was concluded in 26 morning with the mass half day faster than the program. With Michael Peruhe we spent one day to explore Taipei. If I knew the meeting would finish faster I would prefer to return on 27 September. Blessing in disguise: I had time to write this report and share with you.


Taiwan is a democratic country with Taipei is the capital. Their fonder father was Chiang khai Sek, a general who fought against Communism in mainland   China. He came from mainland China, a village near Shanghai province. He ran from China 1949 after the communist won the war in mainland China. Together with nationalist friend they came to Taiwan established “independent state” under China. As a Christian it could be a reason why he fought against communism. He ran the country with totalitarian system till his son took over the power and applied the democratic system. The head of the country is a president.

Till now Chiang Khai Sek gets a great honor and respect from 23 million Taiwan citizen and people from mainland China. It looks from different places built to honor him. In Taipei itself we can find huge Chiang Khai Sek Memorial Hall and Museum, close to our center in Tao Yuan province there is summer palace where they keep his body. Big water dam circles most part of the summer palace.

There are three political parties in Taiwan but only two that have big influence. They run the country one after another. These two big parties are National and Democratic Progressive. Both parties can explain the how the relationship with mainland China should be. The first one prefers collaboration with China and the second one prefers the independency from China.

The political history of Taiwan can explain how the Franciscan presence in Taiwan is.

The Franciscan in Taiwan started 1951 with the presence of the friars from three different countries: Italy, Belgium and Germany. All the missionary friars who came to Taiwan had been in Mainland China before. They came to Taiwan separately and lived in different part of Taiwan. Just in year 1989 they came together and formed a Vicariate which is included Taiwan and Hong Kong. Till now there are 43 friars in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

We can say that the friars from mainland China came together with the Nationalist from China. They really started from zero in spreading the good news. Fortunately they had spoken mandarin already. They preached the good news and some of the local people converted being Catholic. Catholic people are only around 1% of the population. Together with Protestantism might be 4-5%. It is a proof that Chiang Khai Sek was consistence with his ideology of democracy also in religion even he was a Protestant.

20140926_074001_resizedFROM MINORITY TO BROTHERHOOD

The 24 brothers were divided in three groups to reflect together the Lineamenta that will be spoken in next General Chapter next year. With the methodology: to see, to judge and to act the friars tried to reflect it in three parts: our time, brother and minor. Those are three important points/ issues in our Franciscan life.

Our time means looking at the difficulties of our time today. There are different crisis in our time and give impact to our Franciscan life. So it is time to make decision. Crisis is an opportunity, a change to make important decision for our future.

Being truly a brother for another is one challenge that we have to live today. Individualism, selfishness and egocentrism are the biggest challenge to be real brothers.

And the important thing is that being minor. We can be a brother for other who is good and wealth but is not easy to become brother minor and being brother with and among the minors. Transparency, accountability and solidarity than become important issue to be discussed and to live it.

Looking back at the life of St. Francis simply we can make redline that Francis lived his time by being himself minor in other to trust himself to Other and others that is his brother. Only one who is really poor, minor, does not have anything will be able to ask than accept other that we call it brother and living in brotherhood.

Our time today is a little different. We choose to become brother and living in brotherhood first than try to be minor with our brothers in community and with those who are minor in our society today.

Beside reflecting and discussing the Lineamenta the participants also were requested to discuss and reflect the report of General Defenitor of Asia Ocenia Br. Gabriel Mathias and nominated the name for General Minister and Defenitor General for next General Chapter.


There is time to say “hi” and there is time to say “bye”. Four days meeting just a symbolic sign of our journey as a pilgrimage. The history of Taiwan and the Franciscan presence in Taiwan can be a mirror to reflect our journey, vocation journey, the journey of every entities and the journey of our Order as well.

Reading the sign of time as brother minor actually is not only a reflection but it is also a pilgrimage, and this is not the end of a pilgrimage but still going on. We are only small point who will be a small part of our history and long history.

We are a pilgrimage from the long pilgrimage in history of the Order: from China to Taiwan and from minority to brotherhood. Yes, we are just a pilgrimage, we are just a mendicant of meaning.

 Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Reported by Gregory, Taiwan September 27, 2014

 Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

 Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

 Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

 Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

 Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

 Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

 Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

 Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

 Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

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