Members of a lay organization in central Vietnam say they have helped Catholics and followers of other faiths reconcile, and brought people back to the Church this past year. Around 1,500 Legion of Mary members from Hue archdiocese and Da Nang and Quy Nhon dioceses gathered and celebrated the feast of the Annunciation on March 25 at the national Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang in Quang Tri province. They also shared their pastoral activities over the last 12 months. During that time they spent 156,000 hours visiting their neighbors who are Buddhists, Protestants and followers of indigenous faiths. Members aged 16-80 are each required to spend two hours doing pastoral work a week. Phan Tuan, a legionnaire from Duong Son parish, said he and other 30 legionnaires paid weekly visits and offered apologies to Buddhist villagers involved in a conflict with local Catholics who built a road through their village. “Now both sides treat each another like brothers and sisters,” Tuan, 60, said. Local Catholics give food to them if they lose crops, help them build houses and give them other support if their relatives die, he added. Father John Baptiste Le Quang Quy, spiritual director of the Legion of Mary in central Vietnam, said local legionnaires also brought 300 Catholic families who stopped practicing the faith back to the Church. At the gathering, the legionnaires repeated their vows to be faithful to the movement which started in Ireland in 1921 and reached Vietnam in 1948. They also prayed for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan before attended a special Mass concelebrated by 22 priests. VT13778.1647
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