04/09/2011, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Vietnamese priest and laity lend helping hand to the poor, disabled and needy students

by J.B. Vu
Each month Fr. Paul Nguyễn Thực collects 25 thousand dollars for charities. Catholic associations support the work of the priest and the faithful. The church provides food to 25 elderly people living alone. Each year about 100 baptisms are celebrated. "The laity must enhance their capacity - says Fr Paul - with the help of the Holy Spirit. "

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – In the diocese of Saigon a Vietnamese priest’s initiative has permitted programs in support of the poor and blind, which each month help dozens of families Catholic and non-Catholic. Thanks to the support of some associations, Fr. Paul Paul Nguyễn Thực has collected enough money to feed the abandoned elderly, given study opportunities to 30 children and catechism classes or courses for engaged couples. For the priest, the support of the laity is essential, and he hopes that "all parishioners will learn how to exploit their respective strengths, with the help of the Holy Spirit."

The parish of Hà Đông consists of over one thousand Catholic families, about 5 thousand believers, and belongs to the area that includes the community of Xóm Mới in the Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City. Fr. Paul Nguyễn Thực has been the pastor there since 2001 and has launched several social and charitable initiatives for the poor and disadvantaged. Each month, the priest collects at least 25 thousand dollars to distribute to the poor and disabled. Each Catholic family supports two or three blind people and to date there are 2,317 blind people who have benefited from their help.

The families, which support the charities come from Đồng Nai, Long An and Bình Phước. Many Catholic organizations have joined the project, including the Legion of Mary, the Dominican Congregation, the Association of Catholic mothers, catechists and the parish pastoral committee, who provided material and spiritual help.

Each month, the parish contributes to buying food for 25 people living alone, it gives small sums of money to 95 poor families, and guarantees the right to education for 30 students of the community in the district of Gò Vấp. Fr. Paul has worked for 11 years side by side with the laity and organized catechism classes, courses for engaged couples intending to get married and celebrates an average of 100 baptisms a year.

"I hope that all the laity of the parish –the priest confides to AsiaNews - know how to exploit their respective strengths, with the help of the Holy Spirit, helping to promote the activities according to the teachings of Jesus." In these weeks of Lent Fr Paul has celebrated the baptism of 24 people, inviting them to "hear the word of God in daily life" and that the Lord "may grant them His favour."
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