Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Sep 16, 2014 / 08:49 am
The Diocese of Kaohsiung in Taiwan has become the first in the Chinese-speaking world to have a parish dedicated to St. John Paul II, where a first-class relic of the Polish saint's blood is kept.
Archbishop Peter Chen-Chung Liu of Kaohsiung presided at the Mass of Inauguration and Consecration on Sept. 6, with 20 priests concelebrating and more than 1,200 faithful in attendance.
According to Fides, the pastor of the parish, Father Calogero Orifiamma, an Italian missionary and architect of the new church, traveled to Italy to obtain the relic of St. John Paul II.
"The biggest and most beautiful news was the celebration of four baptisms during the Mass," Father Orifiamma said. Two of the baptized were babies who took the name of John Paul, he added.
The parish is located in the middle of the island in a town of 7,000 Paiwan aborigines. The Catholic population is about 2,000.
Construction of the church began in February 2014, thanks to donations from the local Catholic community. Father Orifiamma said the parish still needs financial help to finish paying for the costs of construction.
The Italian priest said he owes his vocation to St. John Paul II after attending World Youth Day 1997 in Paris. Shortly after the experience, he entered the seminary of Kaohsiung in Taiwan and was ordained in 2007.