Master Hsin Tao Remembers a Close Friend at the Memorial Mass for Retired Archbishop Joseph Ti Kang

Master Hsin Tao Remembers a Close Friend at the Memorial Mass for Retired Archbishop Joseph Ti KangThe memorial mass in honor of Archbishop Joseph Ti Kang, Archbishop emeritus of the Taiwanese capital, was held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Taipei, on February 4, 2023. Archbishop Thomas Chung An-Zu presided over the service, with Msgr. Stefano Mazzotti, the Holy See’s Charge d’Affaires in Taiwan, and Dharma Master Hsin Tao, Founding Abbot of the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society (LJM), leading a delegation of disciples and representatives from the Museum of World Religions (MWR), also present. Some 600 participants in total consisting of family, friends, fellow Catholicists, and interfaith associates gathered together to mourn the loss of a kind-hearted elder, who dedicated his entire lifetime to religion.

Archbishop Joseph Ti Kang became Catholic at the age of 10 and took a vow at 12 to commence studies at monasteries before going to Italy to pursue advanced studies in theology. He received a doctoral degree in education at the Maximilian University of Munich in Germany. He had been a bishop for the diocese of Taipei and Chiayi, and the bishop in Taiwan for almost three decades. Archbishop Ti-Kang retired on February 9, 2004, but continued his commitment to all matters pertinent to religion. His genuine support to Master Hsin Tao for the latter’s endeavor in promoting Buddha dharma and intensifying interfaith communications makes a strong case in point. The late archbishop praised the MWR as a treasure trove of humankind. He himself was a frequent visitor to both the LJM Monastery and the MWR. He even made a presentation of his personal fixture as a token - a walking stick that accompanied him for many years - to the MWR on its 19th anniversary in 2019.

Master Hsin Tao said that he has become bosom friends with quite a few Catholic priests from early on including Father Albert Poulet-Mathis, Father Bauer, Rev. George Gerald Martinson, and Archbishop Ti Kang. They were role models by virtue of their excellent discipline and training, remarked the Master, adding that he benefited a lot from the different approaches these Catholic priests and longtime friends employed in advancing interfaith exchange, which accounts for the fact that the LJM has always nurtured open and positive ties to the Vatican. The Master further mentioned that the late archbishop offered up his entire life to the work of religion and focused on the care for the elderly and the very young in his last years. Profound gratitude was also expressed on behalf of the MWR for the gift of the late archbishop’s belongings from his clothing and hats to his scepters as donation to the museum’s collection.

Master Hsin Tao went on to mention another Catholic priest, late Msgr. Joseph Wang Rong-Ho, who was also a very close friend of his. Together they’ve looked after the two monasteries under Father Joseph Wang’s care. The general sentiment at the LJM toward Catholicism has always been kinship-like, as there has never been a lack of interfaith interaction thanks to the Master’s bonding with his Catholic counterparts in their collective promotion of love as the ultimate salvation. Master Hsin Tao further stressed that religions must always work hand in hand in pursuing the same objectives and promoting altruism and love. Especially at a time like the challenges confronting humankind now, only an interfaith unity will enable the materialization of sustainability and the pacification of ecology.

Fr. Joseph Cheng Commended Archbishop Ti Kang as Role Model of Good Shepherd

Father Joseph Cheng of Our Savior Church revealed that Archbishop Ti Kang maintained a childlike innocence at heart as exemplified by his collections of baby angel and baby monk figurines, as well as refrigerator magnets for memorabilia. The late archbishop was a role model of Good Shepherd that never tired of reminding church goers to stay on the right path, and he never forgot the names of people from his parish even after more than ten years. The Archbishop was most concerned with the future of Catholicism as reflected in his mass appeal to the youth on World Youth Day in 1995 to the effect that the Church’s biggest responsibility lies in facilitating the introduction of Jesus for meeting with the young.

The video shared at the memorial service brought back fond memories of the late Archbishop, showing precious moments like clips from his birthday parties full of joy and laughter, mentioning of his dear Mother as the usherer who initiated his connection to the Church and thus a special favor and grace from our Father in Heaven. Fellow believers also told of tid bits of how the late Archbishop interacted with his followers, in that his care also extended to family members beyond his parishioners by enquiring about the health condition of their family elders. Even during the years he stayed at the hospice for the elderly in Bali, New Taipei City, he always exuberated in joy and delight when visitors stopped by. He showed due respect to food by appreciating whatever was offered without ever wasting any. An old acquaintance of over twenty years who runs a photo studio offered to create a photo album for the Archbishop during his last years. The work resulted in a treasure trove for the memories of the Archbishop.

The late Archbishop donated his body to the College of Medicine of Fu-Jen Catholic University to testify to his lifelong dedication until the last moment, reflecting the spirit of love as echoed by the verse in his last will and testament that read – “God is love, we must love God as we love our neighbors; Love is God, we shall love our neighbors as we love ourselves; We should love our neighbors as we love God, just like our Lord loves us all.” At the end of the memorial mass, Catholic followers sang two hymns Home and The Golden Cross to close the solemn yet heartwarming service on a beautiful note of church music.