10/31/2008, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Legion of Mary prays for justice, peace in Vietnam

by Nguyen Hung
Present in the country since 1948, the association carries out a voluntary apostolate among the sick, poor, and marginalized. Activity of young people on behalf of street kids, and those sick with AIDS.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Present in Vietnam since 1948, the Legion of Mary, through its voluntary apostolate - in activities like visiting the sick and the poor, and especially through its prayers - has been a pioneer of lay associations, contributing to the excellent missionary results in the country. Present today in 26 dioceses all over Vietnam, the Legion carries out substantial activity in the pastoral and social fields.

"Our Legion of Mary has worked with young people at the parish since 1954," says Binh, leader of the "Junior" youth group at the parish of Binh An Ha. "We focus on young people and those at the margins of society, like street children, orphans, children with HIV/AIDS, the poor, and non-Catholics. Binh An Ha parish has about 50 young people who have participated in the Junior group. The Legion also has hundreds of members, men and women. The members of the Legion are primary engaged in the performance of the spiritual works of mercy rather than works of material aid. This focus helps members have deep and meaningful activities."

With the victory of the communist Party against France, in 1954, and its consequent control over the northern regions, Catholics have faced numerous difficulties in society. But the Catholics have continued to pray to Jesus and the Virgin Mary in small prayer groups.

Lan, a member of the Juniors in the district of Binh An, tells AsiaNews that "Every week I teach poor children in the parish. There are 50 children who had dropped out of school early. Every week, on the weekend, we have prayer time together, learning from the handbook on of the Legion of Mary. The book is very useful for us. It guides us on how to practice pastoral and social activities. I work to earn money and to support my family, besides participating in parish activities, praying for justice and peace in Viet Nam. I belief that every Legion of Mary member has contributed to the development of the parish and the local Church."

The Legion of Mary is part of the life of Vietnamese Catholics, and no pressure on the part of the authorities will be able to stop its prayers for justice and peace in the country.

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