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Catholics start church-building drive

Upgrade of worship capability well on the way to completion

Catholics start church-building drive
Tan Hung church under construction
Catholics in northern Vietnam are in the middle of a campaign to build new or restore run-down churches in remote areas. “We are determined to replace dilapidated chapels that are failing to meet the religious needs of local Catholics,” Father Peter Nguyen Dinh Den said. Father Den, who started offering pastoral activities to My Hung and Yen Bai parishes in Yen Bai province in 2008, said they have built or repaired eight churches in the past three years. He said the churches can seat between 200 and 1,000 people. The priest, who is based at My Hung Church, said many old churches were made of bamboo and leaves and were in very bad condition. Capacity was also inadequate, forcing parishioners in some places to hold religious activities in people’s homes, he added. Maria Nguyen Thi Ngo, a lay leader of Tan Hung sub-parish, said they started the construction of a new church three months ago. She said Catholics who moved to the area from Nam Dinh province in 1974 had erected a wood chapel in 1985, but were forced to abandon it a couple of years ago because it was near collapsing. Father Den, 38, said they plan to build two more churches next year. He gives pastoral care to 8,500 Catholics including 2,200 ethnic Hmong people in the two parishes and 28 sub-parishes. Related reports: Poor Catholics struggle to build church Poor Vietnamese find funds for new churches

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