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Franciscans to give top priority to ethnic groups

Vietnam province to build facilities, provide pastoral services in villages

Franciscans to give top priority to ethnic groups
Franciscans during their meeting in Vietnam reporter

January 20, 2011

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Franciscans in Vietnam are giving top priority to working with ethnic minority groups and internal migrant workers. “We have to bring key advantages to marginalized people…like ways of evangelization as our Father Saint Francis Assisi did,” said Father Francis Xavier Vu Phan Long, Vietnam Franciscan provincial superior for the Order of Friars Minor. Fifty-three Franciscans representing their confreres throughout the country attended the chapter held at their seminary Jan. 10-15 in Ho Chi Minh City. Father Francis Xavier Tran Dang Tuan said that this year he plans to build a center for 300 people suffering from mental disorders in the southern city of Can Tho. These patients have not been given any health care after a local state-run hospital was closed, he said. Others who live on the streets ended up dead after organ traders removed their organs during the night, Father Tuan added. At the same time “Many Ba Na ethnic villagers who suffer from leprosy remain isolated in the remote mountainous areas in Kontum diocese,” said Brother Peter Nguyen Dinh Phuc, a physician. He said there are over 10 ethnic groups in the diocese. As one of the 11 Franciscans working with local ethnic people, Brother Phuc said they need more Franciscans to give pastoral help to 4,000 Catholics from 46 ethnic villages. Father Joseph Nguyen Xuan Quy, head of the congregation’s evangelization, said he plans to send more Franciscans to work with ethnic groups of Chinese, Dao, Hmong, Nung and Tay in Lang Son diocese that borders China. Since 2008, only one Franciscan has been working in the diocese served by six priests and 19 Religious, he said. Meanwhile, Father Paul Nguyen Dinh Vinh, rector of the seminary, suggested that a pastoral center be built for 40,000 internal migrant workers who work for local companies in Thu Duc district of Ho Chi Minh City. Local Franciscans hold their chapter once every three years to come up with action plans for 12 dioceses where they work. The Vietnam Franciscan province has 218 members. Related reports Diocese vows to defeat poverty among lepers Cows, chickens to help orphans in central Vietnam VT12944.1637
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