» 04/14/2009, 00.00
Easter solidarity in a Vietnam where poverty and marginalisation are at home
The Easter solemnity is celebrated in churches and centres of missionary action among AIDS patients, drug addicts and old people left alone. Government papers praise Easter.
Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – From north to south Easter in Vietnam provided an opportunity to promote missionary action and help people at the bottom of society, made poor by the country’s economic transformation.
“Easter celebrations mark our salvation and we want to share our joy with everyone,” said Father Matthew of Thai Ha Parish in Hanoi. For several months the parish has been under strong pressure from the municipal government to give up claims to land and building seized from the Church.
In Ho Chi Minh City, archbishop Jean-Baptiste Phạm Minh Mẫn urged the faithful to bear witness of the joy of Easter to non Christians.
In the south the Church is also involved in caring for AIDS patients, old people without medical coverage, street kids, housing troubled students in Church-run shelters, dormitories, kindergarten and dispensaries.
Many non-Christian students expressed their happiness that they could take part in activities related to the occasion like singing.
In a rare move government papers published articles about Easter celebrations. In their coverage they explained how the solemnity is celebrated in Vietnam and around the world.
Since the country embarked on economic reforms in the 1990s the gap between haves and have-nots has widened. This has in turn caused major social problems like corruption, red tape, greed and a loss of ideals, which the government seems powerless to deal with.
The Catholic Church has tried to fill the gap by trying to meet the new needs. It has set up hundreds of kindergartens, drug rehabilitation centres, AIDS hospices and drop-in centres for migrant workers.
In Ho Chi Minh City calls for justice and prayer for those who “persecute us”
About 7,000 people take part in a prayer vigil during which participants express communion with Hanoi Catholics, victims of a vicious attack by city authorities and the Communist Party. A “drastic action” against the Catholic community is feared.
Greater involvement of the Vietnamese Church in helping the needy
At Easter all available money was used to help the elderly, the sick and needy children. Activities took place in Ho Chi Minh City's Notre Dame Cathedral.
Campaign of intimidation against lawyer representing Thai Ha parishioners continues
Le Tran Luât, legal counsel for people who filed charges against state media for false reporting of their trial, has been detained by police. His office had been raided previously. His Bar Association has threatened to suspend his licence, and an aide has been detained and interrogated.
Vietnamese Church prepares 650 catechumens for baptism
Newcomers to the fold will be baptised on Easter Sunday after completing a journey of faith during Lent. They were introduced to the community in the dioceses of Hanoi and Saigon before thousands of faithful.
The Catholics of Ho Chi Minh City manifest their solidarity with those of Hanoi
Thousands express their support for the peaceful protest in the capital, aimed at obtaining the restitution of territory confiscated from the parish of Thái Hà.
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