04/18/2006, 00.00
VIETNAM

Greater involvement of the Vietnamese Church in helping the needy

JB. VU
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.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – During Easter celebrations Ho Chi Minh City's Notre Dame Cathedral was the scene of many activities in favour of the needy. All available money was used to help the elderly, the sick, blind and street children.

Mrs Hang was one among those who helped out. She has taken in and is helping some terminal AIDS patients to be at peace with God. But she was not alone. There are also "young people from the Gia Dinh District who organised practical activities for Easter," said Fr Joseph Tran from the De La Salle Congregation. "They smoked less to save money for less fortunate children in the parish. They visited older folks living on their own or abandoned [by their families] and talked to them." Sister Bich Lien organised activities in support of 25 street kids, mostly non Catholic, who were given a chance to celebrate Easter and be happy in their second family.

"We are helping 200 orphans. They have no parents or do not know who their parents are," Hue Tri, a Buddhist nun, told AsiaNews. "Every year, Christmas and Easter bring them a bit of joy. They can share in social activities and perform charitable and socially-valuable work in the city."

Sister Tha, from the congregation of the Lovers of the Holy Cross, has a master degree in social work. She said that "Binh Hung Parish offers many social activities. More than a thousand people, Catholics, non Catholics and non believers work together. Young adults teach the catechism to the children and organise pastoral and social activities with the parents."

"At Easter we focus on practical activities with young people and needy kids," said one of those young adult.

A Catholic teacher from the same parish said: "I teach 16 children, from 12 to 16 years of age, from fishing families. They now can study math and Vietnamese. It is important that they are able to read and write; this way, they can study the catechism and received the strength of the Holy Spirit."

A Franciscan who is also involved in local activities said that "this Easter was truly holy. About 500 people from different ethnic backgrounds came together to share beliefs and happiness. The combination of different traditions, prayers and singing gave me an opportunity to see Jesus' victory."

The faithful crowded churches in Ho Chi Minh City for Easter celebrations. There were so many people that some had to follow mass in churches' courtyards.

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