Vietnam promotes evangelization in small communities – UCA News

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Archbishop of Hanoi encourages small sub-parishes to bring Christian values to others
Catholics welcome Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien to Dong Xuan sub-parish in Ha Nam province, Aug. 20. (Photo: tonggiaophanhanoi.org)
By UCA News reporter, Hanoi
Published: August 22, 2022 09:51 AM GMT

The head of a northern archdiocese has urged Catholics from small sub-parishes to bear witness to the Good News in their daily lives as a way to bring Christian values to others.
On Aug. 20-21, Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hanoi paid his first pastoral visit to four sub-parishes of Dong Xuan, Ha Hieu, Thanh Ngai and Thinh Chau based in Ha Nam province. The sub-parishes established in the early 20th century have 70-200 members each.
Hundreds of Catholics from many parishes warmly welcomed Archbishop Thien to Dong Xuan sub-parish of An Khoai parish and attended a special Mass led by Archbishop Thien and joined by 10 priests.
The archbishop, who started to lead the archdiocese in 2018, told them not to be discouraged by their small number of members as it is important how they live out their faith. They should trust in God, who always loves and blesses them, and bring divine love to people around them.
“We should try our best to promote charity work and give witness to the faith in our daily lives,” he said.
“Evangelization does not mean to do major things but to live a good and simple life. Please try to build happy families, pay much attention to offer faith education to children, be honest in your livelihood, stay clear of drug abuse, treat drug abusers with love and respect,” the 61-year-old prelate said.
At Thinh Chau sub-parish which has 160 members, local people played drums and trumpets to welcome the archbishop, who is the first to have visited them over the past 100 years.
Archbishop Thien had to celebrate an open-air Mass as the old church built in 1928 was too small to accommodate hundreds of participants, many of them from other places.
He praised the local people for properly maintaining their faith during decades of hard times and for producing a priest. The number of Catholics declined from 200 to 40 after 1954, when the North was under communist control. They suffered from the land reform system, religious restrictions, and the Vietnam War.  
“We come here to profess the faith and I am here to encourage all of you to be brave in your life of faith,” he said. He also showed his solidarity with the small community that is part of the local church.
Therese Ngo Thi Tam from Thanh Ngai sub-parish with 70 members said she was delighted to welcome a leader of the local church for the first time since she moved to the area 53 years ago.
Tam hoped that Archbishop Thien’s pastoral visit would motivate the younger generations to promote the faith they received from their ancestors. Most of the local people cultivate rice for a living.
The two-day pastoral visit is part of Archbishop Thien’s plan for 2022 which is designated as the year of evangelization by the archdiocese. He is scheduled to visit remote parishes and sub-parishes on the third Sunday of each month.
On Aug. 19, the Archdiocesan Committee for Evangelization planned to introduce and establish the Legion of Mary at parishes at the request of Archbishop Thien, who called on all parishes to have the Marian association do evangelization work.
This year the committee has found 67 Praesidia Senior with 910 members and 22 Praesidia Junior with 291 members.
Hanoi Archdiocese, which covers Hanoi, the provinces of Ha Nam and Nam Dinh, and part of the mountainous province of Hoa Binh serves 330,000 Catholics out of a population of 10 million.
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