10/06/2020, 16.04
VIETNAM
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Rosary recited in Lý Sơn parish, established by early believers

by Thanh Thuy

Lý Sơn parish was founded by early believers, not by missionaries, priests or monks. For priests from the Diocese of Qui Nhơn, this is a very special fact, with the laity playing an important role in developing and protecting the local parish. The bishop visited the island.

 

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – On Sunday, the parish of Lý Sơn (pictured) opened the month of the solemn Rosary. The parish comes under the Diocese of Qui Nhơn and is located in An Hải, a town on Lý Sơn Island, Quảng Ngãi province. The island is 15 nautical miles from the mainland.

Lý Sơn district covers about 10.39 square kilometers, and is home to 22,174 people, including some Catholics 500.

After the COVID-19 pandemic was contained in Đà Nẵng, Quảng Ngãi province, and in other provinces, provincial authorities on 5 September announced that “Quảng Ngãi People’s Committee authorised residents on Lý Sơn Island to resume economic, educational, religious and tourist activities.”

Lý Sơn Island is historically linked to Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands and the sea. Under the Nguyễn lords, between the late 16th and the late 18th centuries, young islanders enforced their orders to "sail the coast to protect the sea and the islands".

Nowadays, this past survives in Lễ Khao lễ Thế Linh, an annual festival that commemorates the Paracel Islands that has been held for hundreds of years on the island in the second month of the lunar calendar. The event honours the armed sailors who left their homeland in search of natural resources and safeguard the sovereignty of the country.

Lý Sơn parish was founded by early believers, not by missionaries, priests or monks. For priests from the Diocese of Qui Nhơn, this is a very special fact, with the laity playing an important role in developing and protecting the local parish.

Bishop Mátthêu (Matthieu) Nguyễn Văn Khôi of Qui Nhơn has visited and worked for Lý Sơn parishioners. He told local Christians that lay people must pray conscientiously and recite the Rosary, which binds Christians to Our Lady Mary.

The prelate met with all the people of God in the parish, and together they looked back at the history of the parish and its development. The bishop listened to reports of the current situation in the parish and heard that all its members are contributing to the development of the church and society.

Bishop Mátthêu hopes that the meeting will raise awareness among locals of the Lord's grace. To build and develop the parish, these brothers and sisters must contribute more energetically and make sacrifices, he explained.

The construction of a church on Lý Sơn Island is a sign of the power of local Catholics. Lý Sơn parish has become a solid rock, each believer a living stone of God on the dear island.

The bishop is hopeful that, in the future, nuns could come to the parish to set up their own communities. They would help pastoral volunteers, but also carry out missionary works for other people. At present, many islanders still do not believe in God.

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