Thái Bình celebrates new Sacred Heart Seminary

The new facility will be able to accommodate 200-300 students. The diocese has up to 40 candidates each year. In the past, the government limited the number of vocations.

Thái Bình (AsiaNews/ÉdA) – The Diocese of Thái Bình (northern Vietnam) is building a new major seminary that can accommodate up to 300 seminarians.

On 7 September, nearly a hundred seminarians participated in a celebration to mark the beginning of the school year and the foundation of the new seminary, dedicated to the Sacred Heart.

Government authorisation for the construction of the facility was obtained thanks to the mediation of Bishop Phêrô (Pierre) Nguyễn Văn Ðệ of Thái Bình, and constitutes an important step for the local Church.

The previous seminary was closed in 1970-1971 because of the ongoing Vietnam war. The government kept it closed until 2008, when teaching was allowed again. However, officially it could take in only six seminarians per year, even though the diocese has had up to 40 candidates annually.

In 2008, the previous bishop of Thái Bình, Mgr Phanxicô (Francis) Xaviê Nguyễn Văn Sang, managed the exceptional feat of getting permission to train 25 candidates who are now deacons and will be ordained priests next December.

Fr Đaminh (Dominic) Đặng Văn Cầu, 58, is the rector of the new Sacred Heart Seminary, which can accommodate between 200 and 300 students.

The Catholic Church in Vietnam is divided into 27 dioceses, and currently has 11 major seminaries and 2,824 seminarians.