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Authorities praise Vietnamese bishop
Officials in remote village thank prelate for teaching people to live a good lifeBishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh shaking hands with government authorities at the chapel before the Mass
- ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh City
- April 28, 2011
Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh celebrated the special Mass for local Catholics at a chapel at Son Lang village in Kâ€™Bang district of Gia Lai province,Â watched by officials in plain clothes.
â€śAfter the Mass, Bishop Oanh and Father Joseph Pham Minh Cong were invited to work with 10 authorities and security officials from the Peopleâ€™s Committee of Son Lang village,â€ť according to a diocesan source.
They went to the headquarters of the committee, where security officials praised Bishop Oanh for teaching local people to live a good life, according to a diocesan source. They told the clergymen it was the firstÂ time they had seen a Catholic service.
Bishop Oanh had petitioned the government to celebrate only Easter Mass and allow him and Father Cong to celebrate services.
Bishop Oanh told the officials that priests have never been allowed to provide pastoral activities for local Catholics so he had to hear their confession before the Mass.
â€śCatholics go to confession before receiving the Eucharist. It is like people wash their hands before meals,â€ť the bishop said.
Bishop Oanh, who turns 74 on Oct 23, said 20 people who accompanied him were drivers, healthcare workers and others who assist him in Mass as he is old.
â€śYou should be happy that urban people come to visit you and local people,â€ť the bishop told the government men.
Government authorities thanked Bishop Oanh for explaining meaning of Catholic services that â€śWe never heard before.â€ť