10/22/2010, 00.00
VIETNAM - VATICAN
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Cause for the beatification of Card. Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan opens

by Thanh Thuy
The ceremony held at the Vicariate of Rome. The cardinal spent 13 years in prison, becoming a witness of faith, hope and holiness to Catholics and non Catholics. The prayer of a non-Christian, a former fellow prisoner.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - The cause of beatification of Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan opens today in the Conciliation Hall of the Vicariate of Rome. Catholics in Vietnam and around the world have joyfully welcomed this news.

He is greatly admired in Vietnam, considered an example of strength and humility to Catholics and non Catholics alike. Cardinal Van Thuan was a witness to faith, hope and holiness for all.

This is what one Mr. Hai, a comrade of the Cardinal’s in prison, wrote to the Cardinal in a letter: "Dear brother Thuan, I promised that I would go by Our Lady of La Vang to pray for you. In recent years every Sunday, when it was not raining, I rode a bicycle to the shrine of Our Lady, because the church here collapsed during the war. I said this prayer for you, 'Dear Mother Mary, I'm not Catholic and do not know any prayer. But I promised my brother Thuan to pray, so I come here to ask you, Mother Mary, you who know my brother, to help him if he is in need".

Card. Van Thuan was bishop of Nha Trang, before being named auxiliary bishop of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). A few months after taking of the South and the independence, he was arrested by the Communist regime. The cardinal spent 13 years in prison - from 1975 to 1988,  9 of them in total isolation - without being tried. In 1991 he was forced to leave the country, and was received into the Roman Curia by Pope John Paul II. He was president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace from 1998 to 2002, when he passed away at age 74.

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