12/16/2019, 13.11
VIETNAM
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Thousands of Catholics and non-Catholics welcome the new bishop of Phan Thiết

by Thanh Thuy

Pope Francis chose Mgr Joseph Đỗ Mạnh Hùng as the new pastor on 3 December. The prelate took canonical possession of his diocese nine days later with a solemn Mass at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. The following day, he led the faithful on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Tà Pao.

Phan Thiết (AsiaNews) – About 10,000 people, Catholics and non-Catholics, in the Diocese of Phan Thiết, southern Vietnam, welcomed Mgr Joseph Đỗ Mạnh Hùng (pictured left) at his inauguration ceremony. The latter was followed by a thanksgiving Mass and a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Tà Pao.

Pope Francis chose Mgr Joseph Đỗ Mạnh Hùng as the new pastor on 3 December. Eight days later, on 11 December, the prelate met with the faithful, as well as members of the clergy and diocesan associations.

On the evening of the same day, he made his profession of faith and took the oath of allegiance to the Apostolic See in the chapel of the episcopal office. Mgr Thomas Nguyễn Văn Trâm, apostolic administrator of Phan Thiết and now bishop emeritus of Bà Rịa, attended the ceremony.

Bishop Joseph Đỗ Mạnh Hùng took canonical possession of his Diocese the following morning, with a solemn Mass celebrated in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Mgr Marek Zalewski, apostolic nuncio in Singapore and non-resident representative of the Holy See in Vietnam, and Fr Alessio Deriu, councillor of the nunciature in Singapore, co-celebrated the service.

Other prelates attended the Eucharistic celebration: Card Peter Nguyễn Văn Nhơ, Archbishop Emeritus of Hà Nội; Mgr Joseph Nguyên Chi Linh, Archbishop of Huế; Mgr Joseph Nguyên Năng, Archbishop of Hồ Chí Minh City; Mgr Joseph Vu Văn Thiên, Archbishop of Hà Nội. Some 26 bishops from the country’s 27 dioceses were also present along with about 20 priests and thousands of men and women religious.

Last Friday morning, Mgr Joseph Đỗ Mạnh Hùng and about 10,000 faithful visited the shrine of Our Lady of Tà Pao, also in the Diocese of Phan Thiết. Here he led a thanksgiving Mass and the closing ceremony of the Holy Year, held to mark the 60th anniversary of the statue of the Virgin (1959-2019). Many non-Catholics also came to the shrine, which in recent years has become the third centre of Marian pilgrimages in the country after La Vang and Trà Kiệu.

“Today, many people, Catholics and non-Catholics, came to Our Lady of Tà Pao,” said the bishop during the Mass. “Those who suffer from the burden of life have discovered that the Mother’s love is immense. The family that was split is now together. Brothers who are angry now make peace. The naughty child is now the son of seminars. The drunk husband has now become a gentle husband. Many sick people are comforted in this place, and on some occasions have miraculously healed.”

“In this Thanksgiving Mass,” added Mgr Joseph Đỗ Mạnh Hùng’ “all the members of the Diocese of Phan Thiết are called to increase love, devotion to Our Lady and try to improve our lives as Our Lady taught us, so that we are in communion with and participate in the life of the Church of all of Vietnam. We are eager and enthusiastic to proclaim the Good News and the love of Jesus for all.”

The Diocese of Phan Thiết is suffragan of the Archdiocese of Hồ Chí Minh City, and can count on 200 priests to serve more than 185,000 people in 95 parishes. Local Catholics represent around 15 per cent of a population of over 1.2 million people.

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