American priest gains Taiwan citizenship after 52 years of service

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Father Charles Welsh, left, holds a placard with a reproduction of his Taiwan ID on Nov. 3, 2017. The priest was presented with a Taiwan national identity card and a household registration certificate at a ceremony at the Xavier Cultural Center in Kaohsiung by representatives from the city's Linya District Household Registration Office. (CNA)

KAOHSIUNG (CNA) — An American Catholic priest was granted Taiwanese citizenship on Friday, having dedicated 52 years of service to Taiwan.

Father Charles Welsh (王輔天), 83, was presented with a Taiwan national identity card and a household registration certificate at a ceremony at the Xavier Cultural Center in Kaohsiung by representatives from the city’s Linya District Household Registration Office.

According to Welsh, when he visited recently relatives in the United States he tended to feel that “this isn’t my home” and said to them “I belong in Taiwan.”

Welsh recalled that he initially served as a psychological counselor at both a lifeline charity and a Catholic social services center in Hsinchu when he first came to Taiwan.

He later served as a lecturer of neuro-linguistic programming at a Catholic institution in Kaohsiung, devoting himself to helping others resolve their anxiety issues in order to have a healthier and happier life.

Neuro-linguistic programming is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy to achieve specific goals in life.

Currently, Welsh is a chief lecturer at the Xavier Cultural Center in Kaohsiung and loves the city’s outdoor activities, such as visiting Sizihwan. 

By Chen Ja-fo and William Yen