Advent: despite COVID-19, the Catholic community in Bắc Ninh is growing
Bishop Cosma Hoàng Văn Đạt inaugurated seven churches, which is "good news for God’s religion.” Local Catholics have contributed to the fight against the pandemic. A catechism program began for 40 children in a remote area. “Here everyone lives in solidarity and help each other,” says an ethnic H'mong nun.
Hanoi (AsiaNews) – In the sermon he delivered last Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, Bishop Cosma Hoàng Văn Ðạt of Bắc Ninh expressed all his happiness for the resumption of pastoral activities.
“After months of restrictions due to the pandemic, I visited the parishes and inaugurated seven churches,” he said. “One small community of faithful is made up of only 11 families, who built the Holy Church together. This is 'good news' for God's religion.”
What is more, “I am very happy to receive positive comments about the Church. Several local authorities have confided in me that they hope the whole country will become Catholic and be happy.”
However, the COVID -19 emergency had a negative impact on Vietnam. In the Diocese of Bắc Ninh, some people were infected in the municipality of Lôi Sơn and the village of Hạ Lôi, even though the cases were imported from abroad.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, thousands of people living in the two locations were placed in isolation. Local authorities, doctors, nurses and many benefactors across the country have helped the affected communities.
The Diocese of Bắc Ninh provided medicines, food and water to Catholics and non-Catholics during the lockdown period. A priest was also sent to serve local Catholics.
In his pastoral letter for Advent, Bishop Ðạt explains that for Vietnamese Catholics the pandemic has not only disrupted people's lives, but it also affected bearing witness to the faith, prayers and holy Masses.
“For this reason, many people in our diocese were sad. Many brothers and sisters feared that the faith would be lost. This was not the case; on the contrary, it has strengthened it. And thanks to the contribution of the faithful, it is spreading even among those who do not know God.”
For example, thanks to some Catholic students, the church in Hich started a catechism program for 40 children in a remote mountainous area. in the end, even the parents joined in.
In this period of crisis, a H'mong nun from the Dominican congregation of Bắc Ninh talked about her consecrated life on the web.
“I come from a poor family. As a child I was used to growing vegetables. Now I teach the children of the diocese. I pray and participate in holy Mass every day. Gradually, I realised that a [religious] vocation is very noble. Here everyone lives in solidarity and help each other in all aspects.”