Taipei-French Catholic priest Yves Nalet officially became a Republic of China citizen Wednesday after living and serving in Taiwan for 21 years.
"I'm very happy to become family with you all," the 71-year-old Jesuit father said upon receiving his ROC identification card in a ceremony held in Hsinchu County's mountainous Jianshih Township, in the presence of fellow members of the Society of Jesus and indigenous residents living there.
Nalet said he first heard the name "Formosa" when he was a sixth-grader, but never imagined he would be in Taiwan and become Taiwanese one day.
He was born in France to a Catholic family and wanted to join the priesthood since he was a child.
He studied Chinese history in China and served as an editor of the fortnightly newsletter China News Analysis in Hong Kong before moving to Taiwan in 1996 to continue his editing work.
After the publication was terminated in 1998, Nalet began to engage in research on China and cross-Taiwan Strait relations at Taipei's Fu Jen Catholic University.
During that time, he traveled 70 kilometers for 3.5 hours by bicycle from Taipei to Jianshih every weekend to serve local residents, which eventually led to his decision to settle there in 2003.
According to the National Immigration Agency, Nalet is the third foreign missionary in Hsinchu County to be naturalized as an ROC citizen without having to renounce his original citizenship, which became possible after an amendment to the Nationality Act was passed in late 2016.
The other two are American Father Barry Martinson and Italian Sister Elena-Pia Frongia, who have served in Taiwan for 42 years and 55 years, respectively.
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council