Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli (right) visiting the 300-year-old house of the Lovers of the Holy Cross congregation in Bui Chu diocese
The non-resident pontifical representative has urged Catholics in the country’s oldest diocese to preserve the heritage created through their ancestors’ faith. “You should cherish and preserve centuries-old Catholic traditions and the rich heritage that has evolved through your ancestors’ faith in what is a fast-changing society,” Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli told 5,000 Catholics who welcomed him on Monday at the Shrine of the Holy Family at Kien Lao in Bui Chu diocese. Archbishop Girelli also urged young Catholics to live a moral life, practice their faith and serve faithfully the local Church whose future lies in their hands. The shrine, in northern Vietnam is believed to be the cradle of Catholicism in the country. According to Royal Vietnamese records, a European missioner called Ignatius preached Catholicism there in 1533. Archbishop Girelli also visited the 300-year-old house of the Lovers of the Holy Cross congregation in Kien Lao. He offered incense at the altar of French Bishop Pierre Lambert de la Mote who established the congregation there in 1670. Sister Therese Avila Nguyen This Kim You, superior of the congregation, later gave the archbishop a brief history of the order.