Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - In accepting Pope Francis' call to bear witness to the Gospel on World Mission Day, which was celebrated last Sunday, Vietnamese Catholics focused on the role of the laity in the journey of evangelisation.
On the day of celebration, various parishes in Ho Chi Minh City, in the south of the country, sponsored courses in catechesis for young couples and the baptism of catechumens.
Father Joseph Pham Van Nhan, vicar of Nhan Hoa Parish, said that 30 new members received the Holy Spirit, thus joining his community. Two couples had their union "legalised" by receiving the sacrament of marriage according to Church tradition.
In Saigon, thousands of Catholics attended Mass and prayed in communion with the pontiff for the missions, with particular attention to the evangelisation of the family in accordance with the model proposed by Cardinal François Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.
In his book "Path of Hope", the Vietnamese prelate repeatedly stressed that "the family is the centre of light" and that a "happy" family is itself a source of "light for others."
To ignite the flame of love, Fr Dominique Quốc Jang Hung, from Hung Loc Parish, celebrated a Mass with the intention 'Family united for ever'. During the ceremony, the clergyman mentioned the figure of Pope Paul VI who was beatified last Sunday on World Mission Day.
During the service, he emphasised Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI's last encyclical, a model for the social ministry and families in the Church today.
Father Joseph Pham Van Nhan, from Nhan Hoa parish, urged all the faithful to pray for the missions.
In Hà Nội Parish (Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City), the activities of the Synod on the family were examined and the parish vicar baptised 22 catechumens.
Altogether, some 35 baptisms were performed, including couples taking part in pre-marital courses organised by the parish.
Finally, Thạch Đà Parish began two classes of catechism for people who wish to receive the baptism, which is offered every year on two occasions, Easter and World Mission Day. Hence, last Sunday, the parish saw it number expand with 35 new members. The oldest is 67, the youngest just one.
Speaking to AsiaNews, Mr Joseph Tài, one of hundreds of people baptised last Sunday, said that "during the Holy Year of the evangelisation of the family, I expect my family and I will live fully the joy of the Bible".
He hopes to build a "happy family" modelled on that of Saint Joseph. "Through our family, we want to contribute to building the Church and Vietnamese society."