Received: Jan. 21, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI appointed
Fr. John Hung Shan-Chuan
as Bishop of Chiayi, Taiwan.
n Monday, January 16 at noon time in Rome,
7 PM in the China Province, it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI
appointed Fr. John Hung Shan-Chuan SVD as Bishop of Chiayi, Taiwan.
Our new Bishop was born in Penghu on November 20, 1943. His Chinese
full name is Hung Shan-Chuan. The Hung family comes from 'Penghu', the
islands called by the westerners as 'Pescadores', located between China
and Taiwan. His grandfather and most of his relatives worked in tombstone
carving. Fr. Hung is the eldest in a family of five brothers and two
sisters. In 1948 his parents moved to Taiwan, to live in the Southern city
port of Kaohsiung. His father did not like the tombstone work so he moved
to Chuchi, in Chiayi County - where they have a relative - to do the hard
work of transporting goods in a tricycle.
As a boy Shan Chuan studied his primary school in Chuchi. As a young
man, instead of going for Secondary School leading to university, he went
to a Vocational School to learn a profession. He went back to Kaohsiung to
prepare himself for future working in Canned Fish Industry. Because of
budget constrains he had to earn some money after school. He worked with
his relatives in tomb stone carving. During this time he was impressed by
a student of his school who was a Catholic and decided to know about his
After graduation he went back to Chuchi, but going every day to work as
an intern in the Gaoliang Wine Factory in Chiayi. During evening and
weekends he went to the Catholic Church of Chuchi where he knew Fr. Thais
SVD. He enrolled in Catechesis classes with Mr. Tu and Mr. Luo. He had to
answer every day a test taken by Fr. Thais.
After few months he was baptized with the Christian name of John, for
John the Baptist.
Fr. Thais took notice of his abilities and sent him to Bo Ai Road
Church in Chiayi to the school for Catechists run by Fr. Tauch SVD. After
finishing his course Fr. Thais hired him as a Catechist.
During those days Fr. Thais gave him the idea of becoming a priest and
John accepted it with great enthusiasm. Because he wanted his family to
understand his option he was very diligent in preaching to his own family
and managed to persuade them. His father, Mr. Hung Sun Tian was baptized
as Augustine and his mother Mrs. Hung Tsai Ying as Martha. All his
brothers and sisters were baptized with his parents.
Then he had to do the military service 2 years. He was sent to Taichung
and became a sergeant, having the task to do training for new soldiers. He
declined the invitation to be an officer. During his free time he studied
Latin with a Hungarian Jesuit priest.
After finishing his military service Fr. Thais sent him for half a year
to study English with the students of Fu Jen High School, and then for one
year to Fu Jen University for more English.
In 1967 he went to the Philippines to do the novitiate in Tagaytay. He
professed first vows in 1969. He was a classmate of Fr. Antonio Pernia,
now the Superior General of the SVD, and of Fr. Greg Sebastian, missionary
Then he had finished his philosophy and the studied four years of
Theology. He attended summer classes in University Santo Tomas in
Education. It was a hard time because he was six years older than his
classmates, and during those days his level of English was not as good as
his Filipino classmates.
He professed final vows and was ordained priest in 1973, before
finishing his studies, as was the custom those days. Fr. Thais and his
mother, Mrs. Martha Hung went for the ordination. After the ordination he
did his fourth year of Theology and then in one more year he did an MA in
In 1975 Fr. Hung was back in Taiwan. Fr. Thais felt as Simeon in the
Gospel, that he could go in peace; he was sick with cancer so he went back
to Germany and died very soon. Then Fr. Hung became parish priest in his
home town of Chuchi. Through a friend who worked in the census he looked
for all university students from his village and formed a very successful
youth group. Fr. Provincial Chu noticed his ability to work with the youth
and asked him in 1977 to leave Chuchi and work in Fu Jen High School. He
was there for 2 years.
In 1979 he moved to Taipei to work in the Bishops' Conference under
Archbishop Joseph Ti Kang, as secretary of 3 commissions: Propagation of
Faith, Lay Council and Evangelization. Fr. Hung was also National Chaplain
of Young Christian Workers. He knew at that time people as Ou Jinde, who
later on was Minister of State and Vice Major of Taipei City.
Working with well educated people made him feel the need for being
better trained so he applied for a PhD. He was allowed to study Counseling
at the Catholic University of America, in Washington DC, between 1981 and
1986. He had to do practicum and he did it with juveniles. His
dissertation was on the 'Consensus Between mutual expectations of Chinese
Students and their moderator in USA universities'. During these years he
helped Fr. Tu to form the Chinese Catholic Church in Rockville, Our Lady
of China Parish.
In 1986 he came back to Taiwan and was sent to Fu Jen University to do
Campus Ministry. He was in charge of the University Chapel. During those
days he was asked by Archbishop Ti Kang to begin working also in Prison
Ministry. He still has this apostolate and he has recruited 600 members
among them 300 volunteers who go weekly to 50 different jails along
In 1987 he was appointed Dean of Students of Fu Jen University.
In 1992 he was asked by the SVD to go back to Chiayi and be the
Principal of Fu Jen High School. He was almost 14 years in this position.
Besides his main job as Principal of the high school he gives Religion
classes to a group of ladies every week and he also has a Bible Study
Group with Doctors and other professionals. He often helps in the parishes
near Chiayi city.
In 1987 he has elected Admonitor of the China Province. He was Vice
Provincial in the term 1993-1996, Provincial Councilor on 2002-2005 and
now again Vice Provincial since March 1, 2005.
Since 2003 he is also the Mission Secretary of the China Province.
On October 2005 he was appointed National Director for Taiwan of the
Pontifical Mission Societies.
Few weeks ago he suffered the death of his mother, who died on December
21, 2005 and was buried on January 7, 2006. His father died in 1994.
The very day of his mother's burial the Nunciature got the news that
Fr. Hung had been appointed Bishop of Chiayi, news that were made public 9
Fr. Hung has a good sense of humor. He likes sports and keeps a very
good physical condition by playing tennis every week. He has a great
sensitivity for Chinese Art, especially carving, both in wood and stone.
He is one of the best speakers in the Church of Taiwan. He is always
invited to give talks in both Mandarin and Taiwanese. Now his command of
English is very good too. He likes to talk about the Catholic
Characteristic of Fu Jen High School and he is often invited by non Church
organizations to speak in this and other topics. He goes to the Rotary and
Lions Club, to the Women's League, etc. He has a great missionary zeal and
uses every opportunity to present our faith to those who don't know it.
The members of the China Province of the Divine Word Missionaries are
happy and proud that one of them has been appointed for such a high
responsibility in the Church.
Personally I want to express my joy for this appointment and give
thanks to God for what He has done in our community through Fr. John Hung.
I have been working with him in Fu Jen High School for eight years when I
was teaching Ethics and as Provincial we has worked in the same team,
first when he was Councillor and the last year as our Vice Provincial.
We pray to God the Father that - through his Son Jesus Christ, the
Divine Word made flesh - He may send his Holy Spirit on our beloved
confrere, Father John Hung Shan-Chuan SVD, so that he become a Bishop who
could strengthen the faith of the priests, sisters, seminarians and
faithful of the Diocese of Chiayi that they become enthusiastic witness of
God's love for every man and woman and with all his faithful could become
a missionary diocese, able to attract many new people to Jesus Christ.
Praised be to the One and Triune God!
Sergio Edwards SVD
SIN Superior Provincial