Ho Chi Minh City
(AsiaNews) - Mgr Joseph Dinh Duc Dao has become a full bishop. Pope Emeritus Benedict
XVI had appointed him auxiliary bishop of Xuan Loc on
the last day of his pontificate, 28 February. His ordination was held almost
a week ago, on 5 April, in a ceremony that brought together a cardinal, 25
bishops, the non-resident papal representative Mgr Leopoldo Girelli, about 600
priests and more than 15,000 faithful. The event was a real celebration for the
country's bishops, who had gathered at the Marian shrine in Bai Dau Vung Tau,
southern Vietnam, on 1 -5 April for their first
assembly of the year.
Titular Bishop Mgr Dominique
Nguyen Chu Trinh led the ceremony, which began at 6 am at the Xuan Loc
Episcopal Office, crowded with people on this occasion. On behalf of the faithful, he greeted and
thanked Card Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, archbishop of Saigon, the Vatican
representative Mgr Girelli and his fellow bishops and priests.
Mgr Peter Nguyen Van
Nhon, president of the Vietnamese Bishops' Council, welcomed with "emotion
and happiness" the "new member" whose appointment was " Pope
Benedict XVI's last act of benevolence towards the Church of Vietnam" before
his Petrine ministry ended.
The prelate praised the
"generosity and sacrifice" of the faithful of Xuan Loc, valuable contributors
to the mission and organisation of events, as was the case in the last assembly
of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) in December.
As part of the
celebrations, non-resident papal representative Mgr Leopoldo Girelli spoke
about the Church in Vietnam, its situation and the directives Pope Francis
issued in the first weeks of his ministry.
The Vatican diplomat
praised Vietnamese Catholics who, inspired by a spirit of charity, love and
service to others, have played a major role in their nation's development. He also
encouraged all the dioceses to "support each other in a reciprocal
way" in "proclaiming the Gospel in this Year of Faith".
Bishop Joseph Dinh Duc
Dao was born 2 March 1945 in Thuc Hoa, Nam Dinh province, northern Vietnam. From
1961 to 1964, he studied at the St Francis Xavier Seminary in the diocese of Bui
Chu, then moved to St Joseph Major Seminary in the former Saigon, where he
spent the next two years. From 1965 to 1971, he studied in Rome, at the
Pontifical Urban University, where he was ordained in 1971.
Over the years, the
prelate has held many pastoral, academic and administrative positions. His last
include the post of consultant for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious
Dialogue, president of the Xuan Loc Major Seminary (since 2009), and coordinator
of the apostolate among Vietnamese in the Diaspora. He has also written
numerous articles and essays devoted to missionary spirituality and the prospects
for evangelisation in Africa.