Qingshui Catholic Church, Taichung City. Photos: Google Maps, Facebook/Lin Chia-lung

An 86-year-old American Catholic priest who has dedicated his whole life to the underprivileged, including local Taiwanese and migrants, was granted Taiwan citizenship in Taichung City on Thursday.

Over the years, Father Murray Eugene Michael has been devoted to education. In 1958, he first arrived in Taiwan at the age of 26 as a missionary. Between 1972 and 1974 he served as the headmaster of Maryknoll Language School in Taichung, and in 1985 he founded a Catholic kindergarten in Qingshui district, The Commons Daily reported.

The priest would proactively reach out to new immigrants and migrant workers, giving them spiritual support and counseling. Every morning he would pay regular visits to fellow Christians, the elderly, families with financial difficulties, and prisoners.

After receiving his personal identification papers and household certificate on Thursday from Lin Chia-lung, mayor of Taichung City, and Chou Wing-hung, director of the Civil Affairs Bureau of Taichung City Government, Father Murray said he was thankful and glad that he had been finally accepted as a Taiwanese, the Taiwan Times reported.

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