Faithful share their stories of the power of prayer
People of eight faiths celebrate prayer together
Attendees sing at the power of prayer meeting
For decades, Marie Magdalene Nguyen Thi Yen was considered an outcast by her husband’s Buddhist parents. They protested against her marriage by not attending her wedding and accused her of enticing their eldest son into converting to Catholicism. Yen, 69, said her children were also not looked after by her husband’s relatives. “I tried to lead a good life by loving, respecting and looking after them as my parents, while fervently praying to God to change their mind,” she said.“Thanks to my prayers, they have recently recognized me and converted to Catholicism.” Yen’s story was met with applause by around 1,000 people at an interfaith meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday. Present at the “Together Ease Miseries” meeting were clergy, and laypeople representing the Baha’i faith, Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and indigenous faiths such as Cao Dai, Hoa Hao and Minh Ly Thanh Hoi. People shared their experience of the positive power of prayer, sang hymns and recited poems on religion. “If we are surrounded by serious difficulties and miseries, we should pray to God who always saves us,” said Vo Ngoc Hong Phuc, a Baha’i. Cao Dai follower Le Nhu Hung agreed. “As people of religion, we must rely on God’s grace to relieve our miseries.” Muslim Imam Trinh Ngoc Dat urged attendees to visit and provide material and spiritual support for victims of natural disasters, elderly people without relatives, patients and the marginalized. Despite the fact that Joseph Chau Ngoc Thinh, 52,suffers from tumors on his skin, “I am luckier than others," he says. Thinh, a lay Catholic, said he has regularly visited cancer patients in local hospitals for the past 20 years. “I pray daily to God to give me strength so that I can ignore people’s disrespect and live a good life as witness to God," he said. Minh Tue, a Budhist monk, said the meeting raised awareness of religious faith that is strength helping people to release their miseries among people. He said local followers live in harmony and work together to provide health care for poor people in the city. Father Francis Xavier Bao Loc, head of the Interfaith Dialogue Ministry committee, said the meeting aimed to promote dialogue and cooperation among local followers for the common good. The event also marked the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and what would have been the 100th birthday of Han Mac Tu, a Catholic poet who suffered from leprosy and composed many great Catholic poems. He died in 1940. With candles in hand, attendees closed the meeting with prayers for suffering people and the Prayer of Peace hymn by St. Francis Assisi.