06/22/2021, 15.54
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Parishes on the frontline in COVID-19 emergency

by Peter Tran

Forced to close due to social distancing, facility for the poor was reorganised to hand out food. Parishes stand with people who lost their jobs as a result of the emergency. Catholics show solidarity in Hoàng Mai, under quarantine.

Hồ Chí Minh City (AsiaNews) – Vietnam continues to cope with a complicated pandemic situation with 13,483 coronavirus cases reported as of yesterday.

Some 1,714 cases have been reported in Hồ Chí Minh City alone. Catholic groups in the local archdiocese have been mobilised to offer assistance.

Father Joseph Đinh Văn Thè, vicar of Tân Trang parish, invited the faithful to pray and carry out works of charity.

The parish organised special distributions of food for those who are worse off such as garbage collectors, seniors, the sick, and those who live in the poorest areas.

“Many families face great challenges, but we always have faith in God,” Fr Joseph explained. “We pray for everyone’s peace and for the end of the pandemic.”

At the same time, “we thank all those who, through their generosity, help us bring this aid in a spirit of charity and love”.

In St Martin parish, Fr Peter Vũ Minh Hùng opened Quán Cơm 2000 in 2016, a rice store where people can buy a meal for only 2,000 dongs (a few US cents).

As a result of the pandemic, the store was forced to close, but it was reorganised to distribute rice to the poor, including lottery tickets sellers and motorcycle taxis drivers.

Between 500 and 600 people come every day, with Fr Peter taking part in handing out the food.

Fr Joseph Nguyễn Trường Thạch SDB, vicar of Xuân Hièp, handed out food parcels, also thanks to contributions from the Charity and Social Activities Office of the Vietnamese Jesuit province.

The parish has also provided small sums to support those cannot pay their water and electricity bills or for the purchase of medicines.

One of the areas most affected by COVID-29, Hoàng Mai parish, was placed under  quarantine recently. Despite this situation, families still share food and masks in a spirit of charity.

“At such a time, we have not let ourselves be overcome by pessimism and sadness,” some parishioners told AsiaNews. “We have learnt to take care of each other, bringing joy and strengthening our friendship.”

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