03/05/2009, 00.00
VIETNAM
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After three years, a new bishop for Ban Me Thuot

by JB. VU
Bishop Vincent Nguyen Van Ban stresses the extensive efforts made during this time by priests, sisters, and laypeople. One of the main concerns is Christian education in families.

Ban Me Thuot (AsiaNews) - For three years, the diocese of Ban Me Thuot, in the central highland of Vietnam, was without a bishop, until February 21, when Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Vincent Nguyen Van Ban. The new bishop says that the appointment "is not only important for the diocese and God's community, but also for me. Because this duty is not easy for me, however, it is certain that I do not work alone in our local Church. During the time when there was no bishop, sisters and priests served the local Church with a very enthusiastic spirit. In a special way, parishioners have participated in apostolate, and have preserved the traditional morality of the faithful. These are solid supports for me."

Bishop Vincent Nguyen Van Ban has visited his new diocese only once, in 1991, so he says that the first thing he will do, starting now, will be to apply himself concretely to getting to know the local community, including more than 40 ethnic minority groups.

Fr. Vincent Nguyen Van Ban, who will be installed in the diocese on May 13, was until his appointment the head of seminary formation in the diocese of Quy Nhon, and a professor at the major seminary in Nha Trang. Born on November 25, 1956, in the parish of Tuy Hoa, province of Phu Yen, diocese of Qui Nhon, he was ordained a priest on September 16, 1993. Last October he took part, as an expert, in the Synod on the Word at the Vatican.

Currently, the Vietnamese Church is entering its second year dedicated to Christian education in the family. This is necessary for the formation of children, young people, and families, in order to allow them to live in peace with their consciences and progress in dignity. "To do this, families and parishes have a very important role. Catholic young people need to have 'cuoc gap go' (meetings), exchanges, and mutual support. Catholic young people need to make their decisions following the guidance of faith. I think the Pastoral Committee of Young People in the diocese, the prefectures, and the parishes have made extensive efforts to do this."

"What I want to tell the community of Ban Me Thuot," the bishop concludes, "is this: may we have peace of mind, prayer, may we follow the guidance of 'living with the Spirit' [editor's note: the bishop's episcopal motto], and build our diocese following His idea."

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