Updated: December 31, 2020 03:47 AM GMT
Catholics celebrate Christmas at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi on Dec. 25. (Photo courtesy of tonggiaophanhanoi.org)
Churches across Vietnam returned to normal during Christmas week and stopped online Masses after a year of liturgical disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.Parish churches were packed for Christmas Mass, although attendees had to follow the "new normal" requirements of wearing masks and washing hands.Vietnam has effectively controlled the deadly Covid-19 pandemic since the first cases were reported in February, limiting the outbreak to 1,456 cases and just 35 deaths as of Dec. 30. During Christmas in 2019, Catholics in Vietnam were cautiously optimistic about the state-run media’s reports that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had invited the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin to visit the country in early 2020 and to establish a permanent resident papal representative in the country.However, the pandemic meant suspending meetings and travel, forcing both sides to suspend any new moves.The Vietnam-Holy See Joint Working Group, which meets every year to discuss issues relating to establishing diplomatic ties, did not occur in 2020. Its last meeting was in Rome in 2019.
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