Young Catholics from 10 northern dioceses attending their biennial gathering in Hai Phong
A Church leader says young Catholics in Vietnam will miss the upcoming World Youth Day (WYD) ceremonies in Spain due to financial difficulties. “We are deeply concerned that our youth leaders will not go to Spain for WYD in August because they have not enough money to cover expenses,” said Bishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hai Phong. Bishop Thien, head of the Episcopal Commission for Youths of the Vietnam Bishops’ Conference, said the 13-day trip is expected to cost people 2,200-2,500 euros (65-74 million dong) each, which is a very large sum for local people. WYD is scheduled to take place August 16-21 in Madrid. “It is sad that we have no money to cover expenses of our delegates, so those who are poor could not afford the money to go on the trip,” he said. He said local young Catholics also face another barrier to Madrid. The Spanish ambassador to Vietnam only grants entry visas to local people who have sent money to WYD’s organizers in Madrid but local people are not allowed to send money to foreign countries, he added. Bishop Thien said 50 WYD aspirants have asked him to introduce them to the Spanish ambassador to get a visa. Another 40 people, most of them priests, have registered with a local tour operator to visit Spain during WYD, he said. Peter Nguyen Cong Lich, who attended past WYD programs, said only priests, Religious and rich people attend WYD programs which do not benefit young people.