Mgr. Girelli visits Hue, La Vang and central Vietnam
by J.B. Vu
It is the third visit by the non-resident papal representative to the country. He will visit various institutions of the diocese. His hope: "A papal representative resident in Vietnam, a greater number of priestly vocations, and a firm unity and communion between the Church of South and North Vietnam."
Hue (AsiaNews) - The non-resident papal representative in Vietnam, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, is making a pastoral visit to the country, which started Saturday September 3and will last until September 18. It is the papal representative’s third visit to the Vietnamese Church. Thousands of faithful and priests welcomed Mgr. Girelli to the Pastoral Centre Archdiocese of Hue, in a welcoming ceremony that reflected the traditional standards of Vietnam.
Archbishop Etienne Nguyễn Như Thể greeted the Representative saying that "your presence among us reflects the Pope's presence, his love and his father's concern for the diocese. We offer the Holy Father our sincere gratitude, and thank you for the presence and love that you offer. " Archbishop Girelli said: "I bring the blessing of Pope Benedict XVI to the Archdiocese of Hue. I am very happy and excited at my first visit to the diocese, and I thank you for the welcome. And I want to tell you that the Holy Father hopes that the Holy See will one day have formal diplomatic relations with Vietnam. "
On the same day, September 3, Archbishop Girelli met with priests and religious of the diocese. He urged them to follow the example of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and above all to live in a spirit of communion. Communion with the bishops and the Church, and in particular with the Archdiocese of Hue. He listened to the priests and spoke with them. He also spoke to the civil authorities, stressing the need for cooperation between the Church and the secular administration, in a spirit of mutual cooperation. Through dialogue and goodwill, he said, from now on it is possible to improve the situation.
The archbishop answered some questions from journalists and outlined his hopes: "A papal representative resident in Vietnam, a greater number of priestly vocations, and a firm unity and communion between the Church of South and North Vietnam. In order to have a healthy cooperation with bishops, priests must obey bishops in everything". Over the coming days the papal representative is due to visit the institutions of the diocese of Hue, and will celebrate Mass at National Shrine of Mary Our Lady of La Vang in Quang Tri province. Then he moves to Da Nang, Qui Nhon, Kon Tum, Ban Mê Thuật and Nha Trang. He is also scheduled to meet with civil authorities in Quang Tri and Thua Thien.