10/17/2017, 17.06
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Vietnamese bishops hold assembly in flood-affected Thanh Hóa diocese

At the meeting, the new members of the Bishops' Conference introduced themselves. Preparations are underway to mark the 30th anniversary (1988-2018) of the canonisation of the 117 martyrs of Vietnam. The bishops’ ad limina visit to the pope is set for March. The prelates also met with flood victims and handed out packages with food and other items.

Thanh Hóa (AsiaNews/ÉdA) – Vietnam’s Catholic bishops met in the Diocese of Thanh Hóa for their annual assembly from 10 to 13 October. This is the second times since 2012 that the diocese hosts the meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam (CBCV). The area, which is located in northern Vietnam, was recently hit by torrential rains that caused widespread flooding.

Before the first day of work, most prelates went to Thái Bình, also in northern Vietnam, for the funeral of Mgr Phanxicô Xaviê (François-Xavier) Nguyễn Văn Sang, a prominent figure of the Vietnamese episcopate. He served as bishop of Thái Bình (1990-2009) and as CBCV vice president. He died on 5 October at the age of 86.

Following the service, the bishops travelled to Thanh Hóa, where along with the clergy, men and women religious and the local laity, they celebrated the 85th anniversary of the diocese’s foundation.

Mgr Leopoldo Girelli, a non-resident papal representative for Vietnam, was present at the three-day meeting. He was recently appointed apostolic nuncio to Israel and apostolic delegate for Jerusalem and Palestine. The bishops paid tribute to him for his apostolic work over the past six years.

At the assembly, the recently appointed members of the Conference introduced themselves; they are: Mgr Giuse (Joseph) Trần Văn Toản, who is now bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Long Xuyên after being its auxiliary bishop; Mgr Gioan (Jean) Dô Van Ngân, the new auxiliary bishop of Xuên Lôc; and Mgr Louis Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, Saigon's new auxiliary bishop.

During the meeting, the bishops drafted a joint letter that has not yet been published. They also worked on preparations for the 30th anniversary of the canonisation of the 117 martyrs of Vietnam in 2018, as well as their upcoming ad limina visit to Rome next March.

A few days before the conference, torrential rains hit the Thanh Hóa region, causing heavy flooding in many places. Meeting in the affected diocese, the bishops expressed their solidarity to the victims, and on 12 October took a break from their work to visit the main parish of the diocese, which was particularly affected by the rains.

The prelates met the victims and Card Phêrô (Pierre) Nguyễn Văn Nhơn, archbishop of Hanoi, spoke to them on behalf of the bishops. The bishops handed out packages with food and other items to meet the most urgent needs.

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