Guting Sacred Heart
To enhance the communications within the international congregation, parishioners are invited to gather together at the hall in back of the main chapel to share foods and friendship after the Mass.
In 1951, the first Jesuit priest, Californian Father Edward Murphy (1912 – 2005), arrived in Taiwan after 14 years of missionary service in China. As Father Murphy and other priests taught at National Taiwan University and National Taiwan Normal University, they were allocated a Japanese-style home as their living quarters (1951-1963). This became the earliest Jesuit facility in Taiwan, and was known as Beda Zhang Hall. From this location, the Jesuit priests taught catechism, baptized converts, and provided counseling and guidance for both the young and old. During the 1950s, there were many people thirsting for the word of God. During this period, there were sometimes 100 people taking catechism and 50 to 60 baptisms annually.
In the mid 1930s and early 1940s, a few Jesuit missionaries from California were teaching in Nanking University, and had been collecting books and money to start a “Nanking Institute” as a training center for university students. That, of course had to stop due to the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 and the later takeover by the communists. Father Murphy was also one of those who taught in Nanking University before coming to Taiwan, and continued teaching at Taiwan National University after his arrival in Taipei. In 1960, having received the approval of Jesuit superiors and Cardinal Tien, he was able to continue the interrupted Nanking project, and started to plan a cultural student center together with a Jesuit residence and public chapel using the books and funds that had already been collected for the “Nanking Institute.”. Thus the beginning of today’s Guting Sacred Heart Church.
On December 8th, 1963, the Tien Educational Center together with its public chapel (the future Guting Sacred Heart Church) were inaugurated. The Center was named after the first Chinese Cardinal, Thomas Tien Keng-hsin, and in the 1960s it became a popular place for cultural activities and for young people to gather. Its library was made available to the neighboring university students for reading and research. Because of its collection of books, it had one of the best English libraries in Taiwan at that time, even better than that of National Taiwan University.
In 1979, the original parish church of the area, which had been established by other priests on the north side of Roosevelt Road some years previously, had to be demolished, in order to widen the road in front and allow it to become today’s Hsin Hai Road. As a result, the Bishop asked the Jesuits to make Tien Educational Center’s public chapel the parish church for the area. Consequently, in November of 1980, Father Murphy was appointed by the Bishop to be the first parish priest of Sacred HeartChurch, and Tien Educational Center’s address was changed from #2, Lane 202, Roosevelt Road, Sect. 3 to #22 Hsin Hai Road, Sect. 1. At the beginning of the 1980s, Father Herbert Clancy also started offering Masses in English at the church.
After Father Murphy, the following chief parish priests are Father Jose Fontecha (1998-2003), Father Gino Picca (2003-2006), Father Ignatius Hung Wanliu (2006-2012) and Father Michael Ku Tonguk (2013-2017). Since January 18, 2017, Father Joseph Ngoc Thang BUI took the office and becomes the incumbent chief parish priest.
About the Core Group
Initiated in 1980 and formally established in 2013, the International Community of Guting Sacred Heart Catholic Church is a group gathered the faithful from all over the world. We devote ourselves to serve in the Guting Sacred Heart Church, including the English Sunday Mass and communions, practice the Ignatian spirituality, and build up connections between the local and international communities in our parish.
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