07/25/2019, 11.26
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School, health, education: the work of Vietnamese Catholics 'excellence of the country'

by Thanh Thao

Sister Anne: religious and laity manage about 1500 kindergartens, almost 50 support classes and half of vocation centers for young people. Fundraising and donations to support the studies of the most needy and deserving. The goal is to translate the message of God's love into concrete action, especially to the poor and marginalized.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - In the largely socialist and atheist Vietnamese society, the work of Catholics in the social sector in favor of the poor, the disabled and the marginalized is acquiring more and more value and meaning.

Sister Anne Lan, a religious in Ho Chi Minh City points out to AsiaNews "In a spirit of charity and love  the sisters and the laity manage about 1500 kindergartens, almost 50 support classes and almost half of the vocational centers (or schools) for young people and children".

The religious structures, she continues, "were created and equipped so that students can learn the best". They can also benefit from the help of money and other donations in the context of "school fundraising", to help the best structure as well as those with less resources. "Moreover - she adds - Catholic and non-Catholic benefactors have provided books, notebooks, bicycles for the children of the most remote and mountainous areas of Vietnam".

One priority is "integrating" young people and children within communities and parishes relying on the enthusiasm of newly born groups and the experience of those who have been working for several years. However, everyone has a common purpose which is to translate the task of bringing God's love to the poor and the marginalized of society in a practical and concrete way.

To date, many parishes in the 27 dioceses in which Vietnam is divided promote regular charity initiatives for the poor. According to official statistics, Catholics in a socialist country manage 635 social structures and, among these, 82 are also vocation centers, 144 medical clinics and hospices providing basic medical care. Added to these are 212 social centers dedicated to the disabled, the elderly, 160 centers to help migrant students and support their families, and 11 specialized in the development of artistic skills.

The sectors of intervention of the parish and diocesan groups range from the apostolate towards disabled people to aid groups for poor and families in difficulty, entrepreneurs and Catholic businessmen who dedicate time to transmit their knowledge and skills to the youngest. And again, movements to protect life, youth associations, scout groups, etc.

Another area in which the work of the Church is active, often in collaboration with non-Catholic personnel and volunteers, is that of health, with doctors and nurses who dedicate part of their time to providing free care to the needy. Among these are the ethnic communities that live in mountainous and isolated areas.

Finally, there is the field of education with institutes and schools run by nuns or laity. In this context, the Church hopes for greater collaboration with the authorities the solution of the problems - social and non-social - affecting the country.

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