Vietnamese Catholics: Rosary at home in May. Only virtual pilgrimages to La Vang
by Joseph Tran

The country, not seriously affected by the coronavirus, is still in isolation. All religious activities with the people are suspended. The bishops invite to pray for the end of the pandemic. The mass of the archbishop of Huế in La Vang followed by streaming by hundreds of thousands of faithful.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - For the month of May, Vietnamese Catholics are invited to pray the rosary at home and to make only virtual pilgrimages to the shrine of Our Lady in La Vang. The intention of these prayers is - as suggested by Pope Francis - to pray for help to the sick, doctors, nurses and all nations so that we can win the fight against the coronavirus (which is here defined as "the Wuhan pandemic") .

Every year, in May, all parishes organize ceremonies, dances, votive gifts and flowers in front of a statue or a painting of the Virgin. This year the whole country is in isolation ("tình hình cách lý xã hội") and therefore we are forced to pray at home.

The national Marian shrine of La Vang (photo 1), in the archdiocese of Huế (central Vietnam), is also affected by isolation. Usually in this month, millions of Vietnamese, Christians and non-Christians, come to thank and petition Our Lady. This year everyone is being asked to make a virtual pilgrimage, via television or computer.

The diocese announced: “The principles of social distancing are valid for places of entertainment and for community religious activities. We ask you, brothers and sisters, not to go to La Vang, but to attend mass or pray through the streaming services on social media".

In the midst of the pandemic, which did not seriously affect the country, last Sunday, April 26, the Archbishop of Huế, Msgr. Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, celebrated a mass at the shrine, surrounded by about ten priests and without faithful, and invited everyone to seek the intercession of the "Noble Mother of Vietnamese children" to free the world from the pandemic (photo 2) . Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese followed the live streaming online.

Msgr Linh, who is president of the Vietnamese bishops, recalled the tens of thousands of deaths and the millions of coronavirus sufferers; praised the doctors and nurses from Wuhan and the world, who treat a huge number of patients; stressed the scientists' commitment to working for a pandemic vaccine, which will take a long time.

Inviting everyone to prayer, he said: “Thousands of questions flock to us. If the pandemic lasts a long time, how can the poor survive? And how can the economy of society be insured? When will we be able to return to our "ánn Thánh" (Sacred temple), to participate in normal religious activities?".

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