Believers meet in many prayer groups. The Dominican Congregation in Vietnam has set up Rosary Associations. Many people are actively involved in promoting and supporting such groups. Several pilgrimages to Vietnam's shrines devoted to the Virgin are organised. Some young Catholics set up the Vinh Fatima prayer group. Celebrations are held throughout May, the Marian Month of Flowers.
Ho Chi Minh (AsiaNews) – May 2017, the Marian month in which the Centenary of the Appearances of Our Lady of Fatima are celebrated, is even more special for Vietnamese Catholics. Extremely devoted to the Blessed Virgin, they are accustomed to reciting the Holy Rosary every day. For the country’s approximately 7 million Catholics, saying three to ten Hail Mary throughout the day is a common practice.
"When we recite and pray the Rosary, we are greatly blessed by Our Lady and the indulgence of the Holy See,” some Saigon Catholic students told AsiaNews. “The most special grace for us is not to lose our soul forever."
“Every day, each member of the Rosary groups reads or recites ten Hail Marys. If one day that is not possible, we can always recite the Rosary on another occasion. All the members of the groups are comrades in spirit and in communion with each other."
Parallel to the Rosary groups, the Dominican Congregation in Vietnam established Rosary Associations in more than 16 dioceses across the country. More than 100,000 records and documents from Rosary Associations have been handed out, involving many people in promoting and supporting these groups. Vietnamese Catholics all over the world have joined many of them.
As part of the promotion and devotion to the Rosary, many Vietnamese Catholics, parishes, and associations organise pilgrimages to the Vietnamese shrines dedicated to the Virgin, such as our Lady of Lavang, in the Archdiocese of Hue; Our Lady of Mång Đen, in the diocese of Kontum; Our Lady of La Mã Bến Three, in the diocese of Vĩnh Long; Our Lady of Trà Kiệu, in the diocese of Đà Nẵng; Our Lady of Sao Biển, also in the same diocese; Our Lady of Đồng Đinh, in the diocese of Phát Diệm; Our Lady of Tà Bao, in the diocese of Phan Thiết; and finally our Lady of Bãi Dâu, in the diocese of Bà Rịa.
On 16 May 2013, some young Catholics from Vinh diocese set up the Vinh Fatima prayer group in Ho Chi Minh City where they study and work. At present, the group has more than a hundred members. Its purpose of is to enable members to live according to the message of Our Lady of Fatima through diligent prayers, reciting the Rosary, and loving the Virgin Mary to glorify God.
Group members support and help each other, building deep friendships. They live with empathy and love for each other, taking part in charitable and social activities to help the less fortunate as well as children who live in difficult circumstances.
In Vietnam’s dioceses, during the Marian month of May, also celebrated as the Month of Flowers, hundreds of thousands of believers enthusiastically take part in liturgical celebrations, reciting the Rosary to honour the Holy Mother.
Thousands of faithful in Phú Yên parish, in the diocese of Vinh, gather to pray to Our Lady to intercede for peace and justice in all Catholic communities in the country and for national security.
The same takes place in Song Ngọc parish, where vicar Fr Nguyễn Đình Thục organised many prayers to the Virgin for the faithful.
The parish is in Nghệ An, one of the provinces most affected by the maritime pollution caused by Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group, which devastated a vast section of Vietnam’s central coastline last year, killing 70 tonnes of fish and wiping out the livelihood of many locals.
Since last February, Fr Nguyễn and his parishioners have been involved in charitable and social activities to help the victims of the environmental disaster.
The clergyman has also helped some 2,000 parishioners in the law suit against Formosa Plastics and has backed protests against the government for failing to hand out compensation. This, in turn, has led to a defamatory campaign by Vietnamese authorities against him and a fellow clergyman.