21 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 08/20/2012 13:08
VIETNAM
Authorities against Catholic leper colony in Dak Pnan, as Kontum bishop brings comfort
by Nguyen Hung
Mgr Michael Hoàng Đức Oanh's visit brings confidence and hope to villagers after local officials recently ordered the removal of Christian symbols and the destruction of the bell tower, replaced by a picture of Ho Chi Minh. The prelate calls on the faithful to remain steadfast in their faith through charity, despite persecution.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - A visit by the bishop of Kontum has brought comfort and relief to ethnic Bahnar Catholics in Dak Pnan, a village that has hosted leper patients and volunteers for years. Located in Mang Yang District (Gia Kai province, south-central Vietnam), the village has about 160 residents. However, local authorities have recently put pressure on the faithful and intimidated them, forcing them to remove a cross from the house of prayer, dismantle the altar and hide the holy sacrament. Officials replaced Christian symbols with a picture of Ho Chi Minh. Only the arrival of Mgr Michael Hoàng Đức Oanh, bishop of Kontum, to which the village belongs, raised the spirit of local Catholics, victimised and abused once again by local authorities.

According to Yao Phu, who lives in Dak Pnan, the community "is under pressure and terrorised" because of the abuses and threats by local officials. Because of fear, many people "are not able to eat and sleep".

Police entered the leper colony, ordering the faithful to "remove the church bell" and tear down the small bell tower near the building.

As religious symbols were removed or destroyed, including the bell tower, the cross, the altar and the empty chapel that had been used for eating and drinking, panic spread among Catholics and patients. A picture of Ho Chi Minh was placed inside the structure, a sign of the "victory" by Communist authorities over the village Catholic residents.

Yet, the visit by Mgr Michael Hoàng Đức Oanh brought confidence and hope to the frightened community. The bishop visited the small altar Yao Phu built and pleaded with God.

Speaking to the faithful, the prelate told them "not to fear." He blessed the village, promising that he would visit them "more often". He encouraged residents to maintain their faith though charity, despite the persecution.

"From today on, every home in the village is a small chapel," Kontum bishop said, "where we can pray to God for ourselves and our brothers and sisters."

Official figures indicate that in Vietnam at least 18,000 have leprosy, living in some 21 centres. They and their families suffer from heavy-handed discrimination in everyday life.

For this reason, the Catholic Church has launched initiatives to help the sick and their families to re-enter society.

The diocese of Kontum has 350,000 members, 90,000 ethnic Kinh and 160,000 belonging to other ethnic groups.

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
03/27/2009 INDIA
Fr. Edward's orphanage in Orissa burned a second time
by Nirmala Carvalho
05/29/2009 VIETNAM
If we ask, they don’t give us our churches; if we ask them to grant them to us, perhaps they will
03/21/2013 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Muslims: solidarity with Christians, victims of Lahore arson attack
by Shafique Khokhar
04/15/2011 VIETNAM
Hanoi steps up persecution of Montagnard Christians
02/17/2014 VIETNAM
Thousands of Vietnamese, Christian and non, march for the release of Catholic lawyer
by TT

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.