08/22/2020, 14.08
VIETNAM
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Masses streamed live and family visits in Phú Cường parish during the pandemic

by Ngoc Lan

Whilst respecting social distancing rules, Cao Xá parish offers daily prayers and Masses via social media. Priests visit families and confess the faithful. Parish council members pray with family groups.

Phú Cường (AsiaNews) – Located in the Diocese of Phú Cường (southern Vietnam), Cao Xá parish has more than 3,000 members. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the local parish priest has worked hard to find new ways to engage in pastoral outreach.

Across the country, the coronavirus outbreak does not seem to be stopping. After months of lockdown with no deaths, more than a thousand cases and 25 deaths have been reported since late July.

In the Diocese of Phú Cường, Bishop Giuse (Joseph) Nguyễn Tấn Tước urged all 103 parishes to find ways to remain in communion and unity with the Church, pray to God and Mother Mary for the end of the pandemic, and strengthen love in the family and for one other.

Fr Phêrô (Peter) Đinh Quang Mạnh Hùng, a Dominican friar, is parish priest in Cao Xá. Since the pandemic broke out, he has celebrated Mass seen live online every day.

“We cannot go to church and attend Mass directly,” he explained, “but we can listen to the Word of God every day through the parish's live stream.”

For this reason, he has urged his parishioners to pray and share experiences via the parish’s website and Facebook page.

One parishioner, Ms Dũng Nguyễn, for example wrote, “Lord, deliver us from this epidemic, heal the sick, bless those who serve coronavirus patients.”

Another one, Hoa, a young woman who in the parish choir, said that she prays to Our Lady: “Mother Mary, protect our family and the world, keep them safe in your hands. Mother Mary, help priests and keep them safe.”

Young people, above all, feel the seriousness of the situation, and express their sadness at not being able to participate directly in the Mass and share parish life in person.

However, “If we remain sad, we won’t know how to solve our problems,” said Fr Phêrô. “For now, we have to keep social distancing and follow the online Mass.”

Following the bishop's suggestion, priests have incorporated family visits in their pastoral outreach action. In some cases, they have been joined by members of the pastoral council.

Some residents of the Vietnam Martyrs area in Cao Xá parish “were moved by the visit of the priests and the parish council. After the visit, the priests confessed us and then gave a blessing to all of us. We also prayed together in front of an altar in the house.”

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