» 08/16/2013 VIETNAM - VATICAN Archbishop Girelli to Vietnamese: Religious freedom, a right that every nation must respect by Thanh Thuy The non-resident representative of the Holy See has recently visited the Asian country, encountering different communities. He stressed the courage of the faithful, urging them to follow the example of Abraham "who believed in the love of God." The enthusiasm of Catholics in meeting Pope Francis’s envoy.
Ho Chi Minh City
(AsiaNews) - Vietnamese Catholics "are a minority" of the population,
but they can make a decisive contribution to the development of the nation by
promoting "a true freedom of religion and conscience" as well as "basic
Human Rights", which every nation in the world "has the duty to
respect." This was the appeal made to
the faithful by Msgr. Leopoldo
Girelli, non-resident representative of the Holy See, in the course of a three-day
visit Aug. 10 to 12. The
Vatican diplomat visited the diocese of Vinh Long (for the second time, after
the first trip in October 2011), Long Xueyn and other areas of the Mekong
Delta, meeting tens of thousands of Catholics in celebrations for their meeting
"with Pope Francis's envoy".
Vinh Long, about 180 km from Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam, Msgr. Girelli visited the
parish of My Thanh. The
second leg of the journey was a visit to the parish of Bo Ot in the neighboring
Diocese of Long Xuyen, where he concelebrated a Mass with the local bishop, Msgr.
Tan Xuan Tieu and 30 other priests, in the presence of more than 5 thousand
faithful of the area and other neighboring parishes.
enthusiasm of the Catholic community was great.
They viewed the papal representative's visit as a sign that "the
love of Jesus in our midst." In
his homily, Msgr. Girelli
invited the faithful to pray and carry out charitable works following the example
of Abraham "who obeyed the call of God."
Holy See's non-resident representative's visit also touched on the community of
Cu Lao Gieng in the town of Gieng Isle, An Giang province, cradle of the local
Catholic community, a land of missionaries and martyrs, including St. Peter
Đoàn Công and St. Emmanuel
Lê Văn Phụng. It
is from these lands that the work of evangelization of Vietnam began, a country
where Catholics represent 10% of the population and are often victims of
persecution, abuses or violations of religious freedom by the communist
authorities (local or central government).
In this vein Msgr. Girelli
underlined the commitment to "the promotion of a true freedom of religion
and conscience" because they are "the fundamental rights of every
human being, with which every nation in the world has a duty to comply." The
prelate also expressed admiration and pride for the development of the
Vietnamese Church and Catholic community, which has been able to "live
with courage, faith, following the example of Abraham who always believed in
the love of God."