Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Thousands of Vietnamese Catholics took part in a Mass for missionary works organised by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Church in Ho Chi Minh City. "The Catholic Church places great important on the universal task of proclamation," Fr Joseph Hồ Đắc Tâm, parish vicar, told AsiaNews. In Vietnam, the Redemptorists constitute an example and model to follow for evangelisation and achieving the Order's most important goal, namely carrying forward the message of "Good News".
Founded in 1963 when the city was still called Saigon, the parish on Tuesday organised its second Eucharistic missionary works celebration for the faithful, the laity and the consecrated.
Currently, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish has 5,697 members and works in an area that is home to 18,430 residents.
Encouraging all parishioners to promote evangelisation and proclaiming the Good News among lay people in the various communities where they live, work and spend their leisure time are among the goals of Fr Joseph's work.
In order to be "a missionary, one must bear witness to Jesus," the priest said. For this reason, "it is necessary to go directly to God, praying and following his work".
The Redemptorist Fathers provide one of the most active and effective models for missionary works in Vietnam.
They have often been victims of government persecution and abuse, and, with the past as their witness, they have had their activities targeted by the authorities in Ho Chi Minh City and in the capital Hanoi, for the purpose of stifling their pastoral work.
However, violence has not stopped them. They continue to play a fundamental role in the expansion of Catholicism and in the spreading the social doctrine of the Church among the poor and the disenfranchised.
"I used to think that missionary work was the preserve of religious and priests," said N. T. H., a disabled woman of 68. After following some training course, "I came to realise that each believer is called to proclaim the Good News."
N. P .T., 30, agrees. Once convinced that mission "was done only in other countries or in remote areas," she now does it "in town and in my office."
For T. V. Q. (who also wants to be known only his initials), it is crucial to learn to live correctly the Word of God so as to be able to get involved in "missionary works for others."