114 year-old baptised in Taiwan

world | Apr 27, 2007 | By Fides Service

When Bishop Luke Liu Hsien-Tang Bishop emeritus of the diocese of Hsing Chu, poured the blessed water on the head of Miss Xu Song Re Ai who is 114 years old the people present burst into warm applause to welcome the oldest Catholic in Taiwan.

According to Tai Pei diocesan bulletin Christian Life Weekly, Miss Xu Song was baptised in the parish of the Immaculate Conception and announced by all the media in Taiwan.

The diocese arranged for Miss Xu Song to be baptised on the Sunday, after 21 people had received the sacraments of Christian initiation during the Easter Vigil Mass. Over 200 people were present for the baptism of Mrs Xu Song Re Ai, presided by Bishop Luke Liu, who said: "I think we probably have the oldest Catholic lady in the world". When asked by press men if she was happy Mrs Xu Song clapped her hands.

Mrs Xu Song, whose parents were very poor, was sent to work for a rich family and later in 1948 moved to Taiwan. A year later the family decided to return to mainland China but because she suffered from sea sickness Miss Xu Song stayed in Taiwan and worked for another family which accompanied her life of faith to baptism. The head of her new family, Prof. Qi Zheng Zhong, was baptised at the age of 25. Prof. Qi arranged for her to have daily catechism in 2007 at a retirement home where she now lives.

Wang Tong Min diocesan press officer said "Miss Xu Song, who never married, is still very clear headed and lively. Her baptism gives new impulse to evangelisation and pastoral care".

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