12/21/2011, 00.00
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Celebrating Christmas in Thanh Hoa helping the poor and downtrodden

by J.B. Vu
Starting on Monday, all of the diocese’s parishes began their charity work for families in need. The bishop visited some of the far-flung districts of his diocese, urging Catholics to bear witness to Christ in Vietnam’s materialistic society.
Thanh Hòa (AsiaNews) – The Diocese of Thanh Hòa (137 km south of Hanoi) is preparing Christmas by helping the poor and the downtrodden. All the parishes have collected gifts and organised charity events for families in need. Despite attempts by the government to stop the Church’s activities, local Catholics have gone ahead anyway. In August, dozens of parishioners were arrested for trying to stop the government from expropriating land owned by Cao Ram Parish in Vinh Diocese (northern Vietnam).

In order to bring the message of peace and harmony to the diocese, Mgr Nguyễn Chí Linh began a tour of the poorest districts under his jurisdiction. He began on Monday and will finish tomorrow.

He stopped at the Cam Thuy and Quang Xuong camps, bearing Christmas gifts for patients suffering from leprosy.

He travelled to the fishing villages of Trung Vực and Kẻ Láng, on the Chu River, where he met the local Catholic community of 1,376 people. The latter could be forced to leave because of high levels of pollution, which have made fishing almost impossible.

In his message, the bishop called on all Catholics to bear witness to the coming of Christ on earth and bring peace and joy, not only to the poor, but also to all those who are victims of today’s consumerist and materialistic society.

Last Monday, all the parishes in the diocese launched their ‘Warmth of Christmas’ outreach programme, involving hundreds of volunteers who, every day, will bring material and spiritual support to families in need.
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