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Vatican envoy heads for Vietnam

First visit by new representative aims to shore up local Church

Vatican envoy heads for Vietnam
Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli (right) meeting Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man (second right) and other Church leaders reporter, Ho Chi Minh City

April 18, 2011

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The Vatican's non-resident representative to Vietnam, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, today starts a two-week working visit to the country, his first since taking on the job in January,. The visit  “aims to help the local Church to bear witness to the Good News among other people and evangelize through its educational, charitable, cultural and health care activities,” said Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City archdiocese. Cardinal Man, 77, said the Vatican diplomat also plans to meet Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Ha Noi and other Church leaders from northern dioceses. Archbishop Girelli will seek bases for himself in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh city for when he works in the country, the cardinal said. Cardinal Man said he and Auxiliary Bishop Peter Nguyen Van Kham and some priests had visited Archbishop Girelli at his residence in Singapore early this month. The cardinal said Archbishop Girelli is expected to fly to Ho Chi Minh city on Sunday and meet city authorities. If his schedule is approved by the government, the Italian Archbishop will open a biannual meeting of the local bishops held at the archdiocesan Pastoral Center April 24-29. He is expected to stay at the Archbishop's House, meet local priests, Religious and laypeople and preside at concelebrated Masses at the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Pastoral Center. Archbishop Girelli  also plans to visit southern dioceses of Can Tho, My Tho, Vinh Long and Xuan Loc and attend the episcopal ordination of Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Nguyen Tan Tuoc of Phu Cuong diocese taking place on April 29. He is also expected to visit three local major seminaries before he returns to Singapore on May 2.

Related reports: Church diplomat eyes close Vietnam ties Vietnamese people ‘opening up’: Cardinal

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