Ho Chi Minh City
( AsiaNews) - Waiting for the conclusion of the process of beatification - even
amid setbacks opposed by the Hanoi authorities - Vietnamese Catholics
continue to pay homage to the memory Card. Francis Xavier Nguyen Văn
September 16, at the Cathedral of Saigon at least 3 thousand faithful attended
the memorial Mass for the 11th anniversary of the death of the most
charismatic figures in the recent history of the Vietnamese Church . Before
Mass, participants were shown a series of images from the Cardinal's life - who
died in Rome , after a long illness , on 16 September 2002 - that were projected
onto the walls of the church. Card. Agostino
Vallini, vicar general of the diocese of Rome , also paid tribute " to
Cardinal Van Thuan , who practiced the Catholic virtues in a heroic way ."
During the memorial service , Fr . Augustine Nguyễn Văn Dụ told some anecdotes concerning the life of the cardinal, especially during his years in Rome, characterized by the progression of the disease . The priest also recalled Pope Benedict XVI's description of the Vietnamese Cardinal as " a person full of hope . During his life he was able to instill confidence in all those he met and thanks to this innate hope, he was able to overcome the difficulties ... especially during the years of isolation "in the communist prisons of the country.
Cardinal François -Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận was born April 17, 1928 , in the central part of Vietnam, into a family that had among its ancestors the first Vietnamese martyrs of 1698 . On June 11, 1953 he was ordained priest and graduated in Canon Law at the Pontifical Urbanianum University in Rome. On returning to Vietnam, he was a professor and then rector of the seminary of Hue . On 24 April 1975, Paul VI appointed him coadjutor of the Archdiocese of Saigon. A few months later, on 15 August 1975 he was arrested and imprisoned . He was released on 21 November 1988 after spending more than 13 years in prison.
And his being a "source of hope " emerged since his choice of motto - " Gaudium et Spes " - confirming that the time spent in the prisons of the regime failed to deprive him of the joy of faith and hope in Christ. An example that is still valid today, for all Vietnamese Catholics living in conditions of difficulty and persecution at the hands of the authorities . Proof of this is found in his deep "optimism" that stemmed from his trust in the providence of God, which never abandoned him even in the communist detention centers Vinh Quang and Vinh Phu . Vietnamese Catholics have fully grasped the cardinal's lesson of "hope" as a result of " faith and charity" in anticipation of "eternal life ."
Even Pope John Paul II paid tribute to the figure of Vietnamese Cardinal, who "in the depths of suffering," never ceased to "love others." And who knew how to die in peace, without experiencing "resentment " for some a witness to the fact that he enjoys "eternal life , where the sun never sets ." One example among many that pay homage to the greatness of man , even before the priest, is contained in this story that dates back to the prison . After six years of isolation , Cardinal Van Thuan receives a letter from one of the guards of the prison, the soldier confesses to having kept the "promise" to go "every morning" to the altar of Our Lady of La Vang - home to a famous Marian shrine - and recite " a prayer for my dear brother Thuan ."