11/06/2009, 00.00
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Preparations for the jubilee of the Vietnamese Church

The opening ceremony will be held November 23 in So Kien. The archbishop of Hanoi, Mgr. Kiet, in an interview says they expect 30 cardinals and bishops, 4 thousand priests and 100 thousand faithful. 200 trumpet players from the Diocese of Bui Chu and 200 drummers from that of Thai Binh, a great race of 750 items from Thanh Hoa, Hung Hoa and Lang Son.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - 30 cardinals and bishops, priests 4 thousand and 100 thousand faithful are expected, November 23, at So Kien, for the opening ceremony of the Vietnamese Church jubilee, marking 350 years since the creation of the two dioceses of North and South Vietnam (1659-2009) and 50 years since the establishment of the Catholic hierarchy in Vietnam. The date of the ceremony is that of the eve of the Feast of the Vietnamese martyrs.  

For what is expected to be the largest gathering of Catholics in the recent history of Vietnam, the archbishop of Hanoi, Mgr. Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet (pictured), speaks of "enormous obstacles" that he has had to deal with, since "local authorities do not understand how they must perform the ceremonies." "Nevertheless, now everything is on the right path," he adds, and attributes the change to the generous efforts of the dioceses of the north and particularly Hanoi.  

In an interview broadcast on the Bishops Conference website, Msgr. Kiet stresses the "practical challenges involved in coordinating such a large crowd from many dioceses." "After all, I know Kien is just a small town with scarce logistical equipment”.

The decision to choose So Kien as a place of the opening ceremony has created some concern, but "historically was the first site that the Vietnamese church could provide a vast complex of durable buildings. It is harmonious and, on an area of four hectares, includes the cathedral, the office of the Vicariate of Tay Dang Ngoai and the major seminary. Everything is still intact, apart from the seminary". Its deterioration is due to the inability of Catholics to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and achieve the renewal of permits.  

From the geographical point of view, finally, "So Kien is at a fairly equal distance from Hanoi and Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh, Thai Binh and this will make it easier for the faithful of these dioceses to participate in the ceremony."

Returning to the opening ceremony of the jubilee, Msgr. Kiet made it known that "the Diocese of Haiphong has prepared a giant torch. There will be a great musical group, with 200 trumpets from the Diocese of Bui Chu and 200 drummers from that of Thai Binh, a great race of 750 elements from Thanh Hoa, Hung Hoa and Lang Son". A large number of young volunteers, 300 of them coming from distant dioceses of Phat Diem and Vinh, will assist those present. In preparation for the start of jubilee, all dioceses in the country will celebrate a novena, November 15 to 23. After the general opening ceremony, finally, the 28 dioceses will repeat the novena locally. The Jubilee will continue until the Epiphany in 2011, when it will close at the national Marian shrine of La Vang.



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