Archbishop Linh blesses seven volunteers who are joining frontline health workers at hospitals in Thua Thien Hue province
Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh offers protective gear to religious volunteers before they enter hospitals for Covid-19 patients on Jan. 3. (Photo courtesy of tonggiaophanhue.org)
Catholic volunteers in central Vietnam have been encouraged to join frontline forces in caring for Covid-19 patients at public hospitals.
On Jan. 3, six religious and one laywoman set off to work at Chan May and Binh Dien hospitals in the districts of Huong Tra and Phu Loc in Thua Thien Hue province.
Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh of Hue and many priests, religious and health officials were present at a special ceremony at Hue Archbishop's House to mark the second time that religious volunteers have been sent to hospitals for Covid patients in the province.
Vicar General Father Anthony Duong Quynh said new infections are surging in the province and putting local hospitals under considerable pressure. The provincial health department had requested the local Church to take part in looking after patients at hospitals.
Father Quynh highly appreciated volunteers who bravely overcome the challenges and fears of infection to walk with hapless victims.
Dr. Nguyen Dac Ngoc from the health department said most patients live in small houses that are not convenient for them to be isolated and treated at home, so field hospitals become overloaded and caregivers must work hard around the clock.
Despite hardships, your path to patients should be of love, joy and happiness. Remember that our delight is to serve people in need
He expressed his deep gratitude to local Catholics who enthusiastically work with other people to care for patients.
Archbishop Linh said the volunteers are doing the work of God, who directly sends them, so whether they are happy, sad or even dead, they should discover the miracle of their mission that is more wonderful than anything else.
"We eagerly give beatific smiles, love, care and support to patients," said the head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam.
"Despite hardships, your path to patients should be of love, joy and happiness. Remember that our delight is to serve people in need."
After blessing and giving medical protective gear to the volunteers, Archbishop Linh told them that "although it is only symbolic, this is good proof that the archdiocesan family is following your footsteps.”
The volunteers in protective uniforms raised lighted candles singing the prayers of peace.
“In the name of God and as pastor of the archdiocese, I send you into the heart of the world, bringing God's love to pandemic victims who are waiting for you. I bless your work," said Archbishop Linh.
The septuagenarian archbishop gave volunteers friendly hugs before they got on buses to the hospitals.
Catholics also make donations and offer food and other basic needs to patients at other public hospitals and those who are kept at home
On Dec. 7, Archbishop Linh sent 40 religious volunteers from six congregations to serve Covid-19 patients at a newly built clinic run by the local Church, which covers the expenses of the 200-bed clinic.
Catholics also make donations and offer food and other basic needs to patients at other public hospitals and those who are kept at home.
On Jan 4, Thua Thien Hue province with a population of 1,1 million recorded 285 new coronavirus cases.
Vietnam has recorded 1,800,704 infections and 33,245 deaths since the pandemic hit it in 2020. About 70 percent of its population has been given two shots of vaccines so far.
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