offers longevity merits to elderly people at Yen Bai News photo)
Catholics from a parish in northwest Vietnam have honored elderly people as a way to foster filial affection among young people.
Father Joseph Nguyen Dinh Tuyen held a special Mass on Feb. 9 to congratulate 30 people aged 70-90 on their longevity at Yen Bai Church in Yen Bai City.
Elderly people in red, yellow and violet costumes were carried to the church by their children and grandchildren. They were also led by a procession marching from the parish house to the church.
The ceremony drew over 1,000 people including the elderly’s children and relatives.
Father Tuyen, pastor of Yen Bai parish, wished the elderly people “health, happiness and longevity to show their good examples of how to live out faith and hand down traditional values to younger generations.”
The priest also offered them longevity merits to show the community’s gratitude to them.
Mary Nguyen Thi Tien, a lay leader, said the annual event aimed to give local people a chance to express their filial affection and duty to their elderly relatives whom they should be proud of.
“Nothing is as happy as all parish members gathering to pray for elderly people and offering them flowers and best wishes,” Tien said.
The 60-year-old woman, who leads the parish’s Our Lady of Perpetual Group, said group members visited elderly people and encouraged their relatives to buy traditional costumes and carry them to the church. Some old people live alone while many people could not afford to hold longevity ceremonies for their elderly parents.
“We also bring joy and happiness to those who have no relatives and live alone so as to raise public awareness of caring for old people among young people,” Tien said.
Maria Doan Thi Hue, whose mother is 80, said: “We are proud of our mother who brings us up and teaches us how to live a good life.”
Hue, 47, who has seven siblings, said their mother gathered them to say daily prayers and took them to attend services, passion plays and dances offering flowers to Mother Mary at the church. Her aged mother never misses Sunday Masses. She said her father died 12 years ago.
“Following mother, now we regularly go to church, fast and join choirs and associations,” she said.
Mary Pham Thuy Tinh said she was happy to have her octogenarian mother be congratulated on her longevity for the first time at the church. Her mother has four children and her father died.
Tinh said her three siblings suffered brain damage at birth and followed their mother to attend daily Masses and collect used items for a living.
“We are deeply grateful to the parish for holding a special ceremony for our mother,” Tinh said.
Yen Bai parish, established in 1898 by foreign missionaries, serves 2,100 Catholics.