Archbishop Etienne Nguyen Nhu The of Hue (second right), priests and Catholic youths at the gathering
As World Youth Day (WYD) celebrations get under way in Spain, thousands of young Catholics from central Vietnam have showed their solidarity with world delegates at a special gathering.
Some two thousand youths in uniform from Hue Archdiocese
attended a rally at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang in Quang Tri province on August 14-15. The gathering, with the theme Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith,
was organized by the archdiocesan committee for youth ministry.
“The gathering aims to create an opportunity for local youths to express family solidarity with youth representatives throughout the world in Spain from their home,” said Father Benedict Ngo Van Hai, an organizer.
Father Hai said local people did not have enough money to cover the expense of the pilgrimage to Spain for WYD.
The priest noted local people also gathered yesterday at the Marian shrine to celebrate the feast of the Assumption and pray for WYD to be successful.
Young Catholics gave a big round of applause after Father Anthony Nguyen Van Tuyen, head of the committee, said “Pope Benedict XVI is smiling sweetly and welcoming us” and pointed to a big picture of the pope.
Participants said they were happy to attend the special event that fosters solidarity.
“The event was a great consolation to us who cannot afford to go to Spain,” one of them noted.
During their gathering, youths shared their faith practice, carried a Marian statue around the shrine, offered flowers to Mary, attended Eucharist adoration, recited the Rosary and gave cultural performances.
Church sources reported that only five local Religious sponsored by foreign benefactors flew to Spain for the WYD celebrations.
Delegates to miss World Youth Day trip