TAIPEI (CNA) — The 4th National Eucharistic Congress in Taiwan took place in Yunlin County on March 1, during which Pope Francis’ special envoy said the pontiff’s heart was with Catholics here.

The pope had said with full joy that he respected and missed the church members in Taiwan, said Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, while addressing the event.

And despite the pope being unable to make his presence at the Congress, Filoni said it seemed he was there.

The cardinal further said that Eucharist is what closely connects the lives of Catholics and Jesus, and with a Eucharistic Congress, which celebrates Jesus’ presence, people were developing care and love for others and had more respect and understanding of each other.

Filoni arrived in Taiwan on Thursday to attend the National Eucharistic Congress, which drew over 10,000 Catholics from seven dioceses around the island, including Taiwan’s Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) and his family members.

The Eucharistic Congress is a gathering of clergy and lay people to bear witness to the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, an important Roman Catholic doctrine.

Since 2011, Taiwan’s seven Catholic dioceses have been taking turns to hold the event every two to three years. This year’s National Eucharistic Congress was hosted by the Diocese of Chiayi, but held at the nearby Yunlin County stadium.

By Yeh Tzu-kang and Elizabeth Hsu