» 03/30/2004, 00.00
Martyred Priest revered by Christians and non-Christians alike
Bac Lieu (AsiaNews/Ucan) Pilgrims came in droves to honor the tomb of a martyred priest who was killed with his parishioners on March 12 1946. The anniversary of the death of Father Francois Xavier Truong Buu Diep brought more than 30,000 Catholics, Protestants and non-Christians to Tac Say parish in the Bac Lieu province, 1,990 kilometers south of Ha Noi, to offer respect and gratitude to the holy man who many say is responsible for healing of physical ailments, increased prosperity and good fortune. The current parish priest Father Jean Baptiste Tran Duc Hung led an outdoor anniversary Mass with 18 other priests, marking the day of Diep's martyrdom 60 years before.
Father Diep was born in 1897 and was ordained a priest in 1924, after completing studies at Phnom Penh Major Seminary in Cambodia. During his ministry as a priest in Vietnam, the country was torn with conflict between religious and political factions, and he was advised by an ecclesial superior to leave the area for a safer one. "I live among my flock and I will die among them. I will not go anywhere" the priest stated. Later, he and 30 lay Catholics were captured by enemy forces and held in a rice paddy storehouse. The priest's body was later found in a nearby pond, though authorities do not agree who killed him, and why.
Now pilgrims line up to touch his tomb and statue and give gifts of incense, candles, money, food and prayers. During the anniversary celebration, believers brought suckling pigs, roast pork, cake, flowers and fruit in place on tables in front of the shrine. Local boarding houses were filled to capacity, charging three times the regular price to the willing travelers. A 60-year old pilgrim from Ho Chi Minh City said that her 50-member group was fortunate to find a place to sleep on the steps of the rectory. "Father Diep cured me soon after I visited his tomb," she stated, referring to the severe arthritis that had previously prevented her from walking properly. Since then, she comes annually to thank him, bringing friends who also seek physical and spiritual favors. Thousands of pilgrims have left expressions of gratitude for answered prayers with small stone slabs engraved with the words, "Grateful to Father Diep" to be placed on the walls surrounding the church. Many overseas Vietnamese also come and pray to the late priest. Father Hung said that the church has become a popular pilgrimage site in the region since the 1980's, after reports of answered prayers circulated among the people. It was officially recognized as a pilgrimage site by the diocese in 1996.
On February 24th, Bishop Emmanuel Le Phong Thuan of Can Tho celebrated Mass, to mark the beginning of construction of a 2,000 seat parish church to replace the current structure built in 1963. The Tac Say Catholic community, established in 1925 with 200 parishioners, now has 1,500 Catholics.
Protestant clergyman sentenced to three years in prison
New Ordinance on Religions does not provide freedom, says the Archbishop of Huê
Archbishop Nguyên Nhu Thê says: "we still remain within a framework of asking for permission." "Pray for our Church," he adds. "The government wants to control religious sentiment," expelled missioner says.
Violence against Christians in Vientiane and Luang Phrabang
Hanoi frees prisoners of conscience on the anniversary of reunification
A young Mennonite woman and a Catholic priest are among those released. But for Amnesty International Vietnam is still far from guaranteeing freedom of religion and of expression. Nothing is known of Rev Pham Ngoc Lien who was also scheduled to be released.
Hindu fundamentalists attack Christian meeting in Rajasthan
The fundamentalists are coming up with new ways to stop Christians from meeting, says the Bishop of Ajmer-Jaipur. Muslims say they are Fascists backed by the government. Hindu groups say 2004 was a successful year in (forcibly) 'reconverting' people to Hinduism.
Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan
During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.
May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium
The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.
24/05/2017 CHINA- VATICAN
19/05/2017 BANGLADESH - SAUDI ARABIA
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.