Msgr. Girelli to Vietnamese bishops: enter into society and help resurrect Church
by Thanh Thúy
Vietnamese Bishops' Conference plenary concluded today in Xuan Loc, in the south. Among the topics the bishops' pastoral work in a country affected by continuous violations of religious freedom, social injustice and economic crisis

Xuan Loc (AsiaNews) - "As Christ rose from the dead, so the Vietnamese Church must arise. Each of us must live, work and preach the living God. We must not be concentrated on our internal problems, but we must enter into society to proclaim the Gospel", says Magr. Leopoldo Girelli, nuncio in Singapore and non-resident representative for the Vatican in Vietnam, at the annual meeting of the Vietnamese bishops' conference. The meeting ended at Xuan Loc, in the south and was attended by all 26 bishops of Vietnam.

The gathering of the bishops' conference began on April 9, a day after the events of Dak Ha, (Diocese of Kontum), where this year the authorities banned the bishop and the priests from celebrating Mass on Easter. The prelates considered the question of the future of their pastoral work in a society characterized by constant persecution by the authorities, economic crisis, social injustice, corruption, expropriation of land, distribution of drugs and abortions among young women.

 To address these challenges in a country where 90% of the population does not know God and Christianity, Msgr. Girelli urged the bishops to emerge, taking care of their people "as a shepherd treats his sheep."

 During the meeting, the bishops discussed the program to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), which for the first time will be held in Vietnam. Following the spirit of the Year of Faith announced by Pope, on August 15, the bishops have decided to lay the foundation stone of the new shrine of Our Lady of La Vang, highlighting the Vietnamese people's devotion to the Virgin. The Conference also addressed the formation of young priests, the organization of the Catholic media and the Commission of Justice and peace established on 8 October 2010.