Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Throughout the dioceses of Vietnam prayers were said yesterday for the Church in China, where the situation is very similar to the Vietnam. On May 18, Benedict XVI invited the faithful of the world to a day of prayer for the Church in China, on May 24, the feast of Our Lady of Sheshan. The pope said: "The Church in China, especially now, needs the prayer of the universal Church. Firstly I invite all Chinese Catholics to continue and to deepen their own prayers, especially to Mary, the Virgin Mother. At the same time all Catholics throughout the world have a duty to pray for the Church in China: those members of the faithful have a right to our prayers, they need our prayers. "
The day after the pope’s appeal, the archbishop of Hanoi, Nguyen Van Nhon, chairman of the Bishops' Conference sent a message to all the communities of Hanoi and North Vietnam's 10 dioceses to invite all the faithful to join in communion with the Holy See and respond to the request of Benedict XVI.
Thus, in the afternoons of 23 and 24 May in all 10 dioceses of North Vietnam, there were Masses, Eucharistic adoration, rosaries, asking the Virgin Mary to sustain hope and loyalty to the Catholic Church in China. Following the pope’s intention, they asked " to enlighten those who are in doubt, to call back the straying, to console the afflicted, and to strengthen those who are ensnared by the allure of opportunism."
Even in Ho Chi Minh City, in the parish of Cha Tam (near Cho Lon), a parish of ethnic Chinese, a special mass in Chinese was held. Thousands of children prayed, sang and danced in front of a statue of Our Lady of Sheshan, offering flowers.
Echoing the words of the pope, a priest told AsiaNews that through prayer "we hope that the Holy Spirit will help the Church in China to find a way to keep the faith alive, strengthen hope and great love for all, and maintain the integrity of the ecclesiology that we received from the Lord and the apostles. "A group of young people in Hanoi said that "looking at the church in China, we also have sympathy for the Church in Vietnam. We have very similar situations to China, being controlled by atheists and so-called 'red capitalists'. Local governments want to exclude religion from society and the way they use threats, fear, forced education. However, the theory of Marx-Leninism in Vietnam will collapse, as after 70 years it was wiped out in the Soviet Union. "