05/29/2007, 00.00
VIETNAM

Bibles at eight cents, free for the poor

by JB. VU
A missionary initiative takes off in a parish in the central part of the country and reaches Ho Chi Minh City. Many are convinced that by spreading the word the number of Vietnamese Catholics will double.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – In a small parish in Vuon Xoai (Central Vietnam) someone came up with the idea of selling small Bibles at the price of 2,000 dong (US$ 0.08) or giving them away for free to those who could not afford even that much. So now, every Sunday, at the end of mass, a small table is set up in front of the church with Bibles and a collection box. The area might be poor and life hard, but Catholics lead a life of faith and have not renounced the idea of spreading the word among the residents of nearby hamlets and villages.

The idea has caught on so much that it is now being implemented in some parishes in Ho Chi Minh City. It is also informed by a belief that if the six million Catholics of Vietnam read the Bible, led their lives according to its principles and devoted themselves to mission, in two years they should be twice as many. 

Tuan, a student, has been reading the Bible for years. “I keep it in my pocket every day when I go to school,” he told AsiaNews. “I feel calm, and recognise the message Jesus brings to me. Through the story of His life, I realised the mistakes of my own life. I have taken part in Bible sharing groups and this has helped me understand my own orientation and my duties to my family, friends, myself and the Church.”

”Reading and listening to the Bible I feel rich,” said a professor from a private university. “Every day I randomly open a page to read and reflect upon Jesus. This is my spirituality.”

“Catholics are sometimes discriminated in the workplace,” said a worker. “So I think about myself and read the Bible to draw inspiration for my life. I have participated in small groups to discuss the ideas of the Bible.”

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