01/25/2010, 00.00
Send to a friend

Thousands of Catholics pray for Dong Chiem, the parish under siege

by Thanh Thuy
Vigils were held in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, prayers for the faithful and priests, and also for the Vietnamese government. Despite the threats made against those who had taken part in the vigils and the presence of police forces around the churches, there were no incidents.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Prayers for the parishioners of Dong Chiem, for priests in Hanoi and also for the Vietnamese government. There were six thousand, yesterday evening, at the vigil in the Redemptorist monastery in Ho Chi Minh City. Almost simultaneously in Hanoi (pictured), a similar vigil took place, with thousands of people, at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, led by Auxiliary Bishop Lawrence Chu Van Minh. Here he also prayed for Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet, under attack from government activities, who demonstrated against him, demanding his resignation.

Vietnamese Catholics respond so the attack led by local authorities, which destroyed the crucifix on Mount Tho, on land belonging to the parish of Dong Chiem, a parish currently under siege its the faithful threatened and beaten. The gatherings were peaceful yet the government has responded with threats. In Ho Chi Minh City, for example, local authorities had threatened "extreme measures" and "arrests" against those who attended the prayer vigil. "If you want to arrest me, do it now. I am ready to follow," said Father Joseph Le Quang Uy last night as he addressed the hundreds of agents who surrounded the monastery. An attack by the police was feared, but the ceremony took place without incident.

Father Vincent Pham Trung Thanh, superior of the Redemptorists in Vietnam introduced the mass explaining that "we are here to offer our prayers for the parish of Dong Chiem, the priests of the archdiocese of Hanoi and for justice and peace in our country" . Catholics demonstrated the communion that exists between them and throughout the world. Prayer meetings with the same intentions have already been held or are planned in the United States, Germany, in Australia.  

"We can not accuse the leaders of not understanding our culture - a young priest told AsiaNews - but the reality is that local authorities intentionally, at all levels, surrounded and suppressed the parish." In fact, the local authorities arrived with "armed forces" to suppress the parishioners, beating and arresting innocent worshipers. They orchestrated "bad people" to destroy the crucifix and target the faithful and their religious beliefs. This is the truth.

 "Local authorities - says Maria, a Catholic teacher - have used thugs to attack and threaten the laity and priests who perform their work there. The thugs have violated the law of Vietnam, so the law should pursue these 'bad people'. Those local authorities must be held accountable for their evil actions against Catholics. " "They even threatened – he added  - some priests of the Archdiocese of Hanoi. Local leaders have breached the 'religious belief' of the Christian population in Vietnam and throughout the world. "  

They are not alone. The authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have levelled their charges at the Redemptorist community, accusing them of using the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help as a base from where to "distort, falsely accuse and criticize the government, urging the faithful to misunderstand the Party policies and national laws. " The focus of their charges is Father Joseph Le Quang Uy, who they accuse of exploiting his leadership role in the prayer vigils to distort the social, political and economic situation and denounce human rights violations by the government".  

(with the collaboration of Emily Nguyen)


Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Explosive used to demolish crucifix in a Hanoi Catholic cemetery
Redemptorists protest violence, while attacks on Hanoi churches feared
In Dong Chiem Catholics beaten, a journalist wounded and a priest threatened
Violence has won: crosses removed from Dong Chiem
Church leads the way in helping Vietnam cope with its educational emergency
11/03/2016 17:00


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”