01/16/2008, 00.00
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Bishop Van Nhon: Church and society need Catholic laypeople

by JB. VU
The head of the Vietnam bishops illustrates for AsiaNews the importance of the work of laypeople in both spiritual and social areas, in sectors like health and education.

Dalat (AsiaNews) - In a socialist country like Vietnam, Catholic laypeople play a positive role both spiritually and socially, through missionary activity and the promotion of the common good, especially in sectors like health and education. This is the personal conviction that Bishop Nguyen Van Nhon, president of the Vietnamese bishops' conference, expressed in a conversation with AsiaNews.

"It is my personal conviction", he says, "that we must be concerned about the work of the laity, about their needs and their contribution to the local Churches. Especially in the current situation of Vietnam, the Catholic laity find themselves in different climates, and live in many different places. In my diocese, they work, live, and pray together, and they do missionary work on behalf of the minorities. Through their daily activity, they mature in their faith in God and in the people".

"As a result, the laity carry out many positive activities in socialist society. They have contributed to the social activity of the parishes. We are very enthusiastic about them as the hope and future of the country. A small step forward has already been taken, because when the future comes they will be ready and able to face it. The areas of health, formation, and education are central in our care of the laity".

In effect, "the laity are among the most active in promoting social awareness and spiritual values, not only in individuals, but also for the parishes and communities. They are on the front lines of many organisations, and are active in the life of the Church. They must be supported and encouraged in order to make them capable of exercising the apostolate in the rest of the Church".

"In this way, through pastoral and social activities, the Catholic Church shows that the future is too precious to be left to chance. Our hope and our prayer is that by investing today in an appropriate development of the laity, we will reap the benefits in the future. The religious formation of persons includes their minds and hearts, and aims to make the laity the heart and the mind of Christians in the world".

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