03/10/2011, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Massive turn out of Vietnamese Catholics for Ash Wednesday

by Thanh Thuy
For Lent, the bishops of the 26 dioceses addressed pastoral letters to the faithful. The rediscovery of Baptism, reject what is contrary to the faith, "the cold faith" of consumerism.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Lent is deeply felt among Vietnamese Catholics: the bishops of the 26 dioceses in the country have addressed pastoral letters to the faithful and, thanks to the Internet, Benedict XVI’s message has also been available in Vietnamese, according to which "through a personal encounter with our Savoir and through fasting, almsgiving and prayer, the journey of conversion towards Easter leads us to rediscover our baptism.".

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday was well attended in all the parishes in the archdiocese of Saigon: nevertheless, in the consumer society, Catholics are experiencing a "cold faith." As Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say, "we are used to pray according to the Gospel, but we do not live according to what it says. This is the main reason why many people do not believe in Jesus. "

In line with the Pope’s message, the bishop of Haiphong, Vũ Văn Thiên, wrote to the religious and the faithful that " we are stepping into the holy season of Lent. Pope Benedict XVI invited us to rediscover the sacrament of Baptism as a means to renovating our life, by becoming a new creation in Jesus’ resurrection. Together we should study and highlight actions that speak of Lent". 

"First of all - he continues – we must remember how to specifically increase our Baptismal promises. Catholic doctrine teaches us that through the Sacrament of Baptism our sins are forgiven and we become new creatures. Its purifying water gives us a rebirth, so we become children of God as St. Paul uses words such as 'burial' and regeneration’ to describe the renewal of the faithful when receiving the sacrament. Indeed, through Baptism, we are brought from death to life, from darkness to light. When we received Baptism, we swore to live as children of light leaving sin and what is against the faith. During Lent, we recall the pledge to renew our faith in God, reject what is contrary to the Catholic faith, especially in the forms of superstition and consumerism that are growing in today's society. "

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