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    » 03/03/2010, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Vietnamese Church prepares 650 catechumens for baptism

    J.B. VU

    Newcomers to the fold will be baptised on Easter Sunday after completing a journey of faith during Lent. They were introduced to the community in the dioceses of Hanoi and Saigon before thousands of faithful.
    Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – The Vietnamese Church will baptise 650 new catechumens on Easter Sunday. During Lent, 200 will be trained in Hanoi diocese; the other 450 will do the same in Ho Chi Minh City. They were introduced to the community last Sunday in the cathedrals of the respective dioceses. In Ho Chi Minh City, more than 1,500 worshippers took part in the Mass conducted by Card Pham Minh Man.

    In welcoming the new catechumens, Mgr Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet, archbishop of Hanoi said, “You have the determination to follow Jesus. Thus, today you are introduced to our community and are on the eve of entering the Church and the family of God.” The prelate then invited everyone in the local community to contribute to the newcomers’ education by following the teachings of Christ.

    “I studied the catechism for six months at the Redemptorist convent in Ho Chi Minh City,” said Mr Tai from Binh An ha Parish. “After the preparatory course, I took the final exam but failed. Still, I am going to continue with the second course. I hope I can be baptised and get marry by Easter.”

    Many of those who choose to undertake the journey of faith ahead of baptism are Buddhist. “I saw Catholics live among us,” an old Buddhist said. “They believe in God and behave correctly towards us. So, I and my family have decided to know God better.”

    In Vietnam, Catholics number around six million and represent 8.5 per cent of the population. Since 1975, the country has been run by a Communist government that limits religious freedom, subordinating religious activities to the approval of secular authorities. Catholics are often victims of violence and abuse.

    Many people are attracted to the faith by the work performed by priests, religious and laity in favour of the poor and the sick. In spite of violence and the society’s materialism, people convert to Catholicism.

    “An AIDS patient asked me recently, tears in his eyes, to help him follow the teachings of the Lord,” Brother Huang, a Franciscan friar, said.

    For Mgr Dominique Nguyen Chu Trinh, bishop of Xuan Loc, helping orphans, the elderly and poor as well as the sick is one of the fundamental duties of every Catholic, and this brings people to the Church.

    “The path through mountains and across rivers is not difficult,” he said, citing an old Vietnamese song; “it becomes difficult when we fear hardship.”

    Last year, more than a thousand people were baptised in his diocese.

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    See also

    14/04/2009 VIETNAM
    Easter solidarity in a Vietnam where poverty and marginalisation are at home
    The Easter solemnity is celebrated in churches and centres of missionary action among AIDS patients, drug addicts and old people left alone. Government papers praise Easter.

    20/10/2008 VIETNAM
    After the “great turmoil” comes the joy of an auxiliary bishop, Monsignor Kiet says
    In a letter to the faithful, the archbishop of Hanoi highlights the statement by the Bishops’ Council on “frank and direct” dialogue and prayer. There are fears that attacks against the prelate by Hanoi mayor, “rising star’ in Vietnam’ politics, will continue.

    25/09/2008 VIETNAM
    In Ho Chi Minh City calls for justice and prayer for those who “persecute us”
    About 7,000 people take part in a prayer vigil during which participants express communion with Hanoi Catholics, victims of a vicious attack by city authorities and the Communist Party. A “drastic action” against the Catholic community is feared.

    23/10/2014 VIETNAM
    Saigon: with Pope Francis, Vietnam laity leads the journey of evangelisation
    On the day dedicated to the missions, parishes in Ho Chi Minh City celebrated hundreds of baptisms. Many young couples and future brides and grooms attended courses on the family in society. A newly baptised said he wants to build a "happy family" on the model of that of Saint Joseph.

    12/12/2006 VIETNAM
    Can Gio: Church at service of the poor
    The district is one of the poorest of Ho Chi Minh City. Families living there do not even have drinking water. Thanks to the example of Catholic volunteers, 300 people from other religions have been baptized over time.



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