Hanoi (AsiaNews) - A "foundation stone" for the construction of the Church of Vietnam and an example for all who live in the country. Cardinal Joseph Pham Dinh Tung was remembered on February 22 in Hanoi during the Mass celebrated on the anniversary of his death, presided over by Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet.
All the bishops of the archdiocese took part in the ceremony: Paul Cao Dinh Thuyen, Joseph Dang Duc Ngan, Joseph Nguyen Van Yen, Cosma Hoang Van Dat, Joseph Hoang Van Time, Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, Joseph Vu Van Thien, Anthony Vu Huy Chuong, Laurent Chu Van Minh, as well as about 150 priests from Hanoi, Lang Son and Bac Ninh. About 5 thousand faithful, including many seminarians were present at the ceremony.
The cardinal, who served the Church with great courage and faithfulness in a difficult period, was born May 20, 1919 at Cau Me, Yen Mo district, Ninh Binh province. Ordained a priest June 6, 1949, he was vicar in the parish of Ham Long, in Hanoi, and director of the seminary. In 1963 he was appointed bishop of Bac Ninh, where he remained for 31 years, until 1994, when he was appointed to head the Archdiocese of Hanoi. On 26 November 1994, John Paul II created him cardinal. From 1995 he was head of the Vietnamese. On 19 February 2005, when he was 86 years, the Holy See officially accepted his resignation.
His death was a great loss for the Church in Hanoi and throughout Vietnam, Benedict XVI wrote in his telegram of condolence.
"Cardinal Joseph Pham Dinh Tung - said the current archbishop of Hanoi at the beginning of Mass - died on the significant day of the feast of the Chair of St. Peter. God certainly wanted him to be a foundation stone of the Church of Vietnam. So today all the bishops, priests, religious and faithful of the archdiocese are gathered here. "
"We - he continued - are building love of unity. We are living the mystery of communion in the Church. We have a solid foundation: Jesus is the cornerstone, Saint Peter is the founder of the Church and Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung an important one of the stones of the Church of Vietnam, the creator of our solidarity and unity. "
In 2009, receiving the Vietnamese bishops on their visit "ad Limina", Benedict XVI recalled the Cardinal, thanking God "for his enthusiasm and his pastoral service. He had a simple character and a great love for all people, priests and Religious. "