Evangelisation and pastoral work part of Vietnamese bishops’ mission

» 10/04/2011 14:04

by J.B. Vu
The second bishops’ conference of the year opens in Ho Chi Minh City, bringing together prelates from the country’s 26 dioceses. Papal representative Mgr Girelli chaired the first day of activities. Discussion includes the first meeting of Asian bishops in Vietnam next year.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the papal representative in Vietnam, participated in the opening of the conference of the Vietnam Bishops’ Council on Monday at the Pastoral Centre of Saigon Archdiocese. Bishops from 26 dioceses will look at the Pastoral Letter of post-assembly of People of God of 2010 as it applies to every diocese. Members of the Bishops’ Council also will contribute their opinions to draft the platform for the ‘New Evangelisation’ by the Federation of International Bishops scheduled for October 2012.

On the first issue, the prelates stressed the importance of announcing the Gospel to all Vietnamese. To reach this goal, the Church must enhance the dialogue with other religions and continue its work on behalf of society’s neediest.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr Vincent Phạm Trung Thành, Redemptorist provincial superior in Ho Chi Minh City (ex Saigon), said he had high “hopes in the pastoral activities of Vietnam Catholic Church”. In his view, everyone should “learn from the message delivered at the beatification of John Paul II”, whom he describes as “an example” to follow, for “he was brave, generous, and patient in loving people and God.”

John Paul II “is the godfather of Vietnam’s Catholic Church,” the Redemptorist clergyman said. He played a decisive role in the development of a true faith in the country. “He showed God’s love for us.” With “pressures from the world,” the “Vietnam church has given 117 martyrs as examples to be venerated.”

Hoping for greater “communion among the faithful”, Fr Vincent mentioned the figure of Card Francis Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận, whose beatification is underway, for his teachings and life, which show that “we should never lose hope and confidence.”

Mgr Girelli also spoke about martyrs last Sunday, eve of the opening of the Bishops’ conference, during a Mass celebrated in the diocese of Long Xuyên, An Giang Province, in the Mekong Delta.

The papal representative referred to all those who gave their life for their faith, as he described them as “heroic and brave witnesses for everyone to follow.”

The prelate ended by expressing his wishes to local Catholics for the support and help of Our Lady of Peace.