TAIWAN - An outpouring of Marian devotion for Our Lady of Wan Jin, on pilgrimage tour in the Diocese of Tai Nan for the 150th anniversary of the evangelization of the island
Tai Nan (Agenzia Fides) – The faithful of the Diocese of Tai Nan are showing their great enthusiasm and devotion to Our Lady of Wan Jin, whose image is on pilgrimage through the various dioceses of the island of Taiwan, in order to “invoke the Lord's blessing on the country,” on the occasion of its 150th anniversary of evangelization. Cardinal Paul Shan, Emeritus Bishop of Kaohsiung, on behalf of all the Bishops of Taiwan who were on their Ad Limina visit in Rome, presided the solemn procession that took place on December 13, which welcomed the arrival of the pilgrim-statue of Our Lady of Wan Jin to Tai Nan. When the religious procession passed in front of a Buddhist temple, even the Buddhists who were inside the temple praying came out with their hands in prayer and bowed their heads in respect before the statue.
The faithful brought so many statues of Our Lady from their homes that the Cathedral dedicated to Our Lady of China, organized Marian Exhibition. In spite of his advanced age and illness, Cardinal Shan presided the entire liturgy, which was preceded by a 500-meter procession. The image of Our Lady will leave the Diocese of Tai Nan on January 20, to go to the Diocese of Chia Yi.
The Marian pilgrimage began in the Diocese of Kao Hsiung on September 8, 2008 and will travel throughout the entire island this year, in honor of the 150th anniversary of evangelization, so that all people can experience Jesus' words spoken from the Cross “Behold your Mother!.” Invoking a blessing for the island, the pilgrimage is also launching a great initiative of evangelization.
The Shrine to Our Lady of Wan Jin was built in 1896 and became a Marian Basilica in 1984, upon the request of Pope John Paul II. It was also Taiwan's first Basilica of Pontifical Right. The first and only pilgrimage of Our Lady of Wan Jin took place 18 years ago. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides 13/1/2009)