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Huge celebration draws 3,000 Vietnamese migrant Catholics

Hanoi Archdiocese seeks to inspire many thousands of migrants hit hard by Covid-19 pandemic

Huge celebration draws 3,000 Vietnamese migrant Catholics

Migrant Catholics join a procession with a statue of St. Joseph, the worker, before a special Mass in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on May 11. (Photo: Archdiocese of Hanoi)

Published: May 16, 2022 09:53 AM GMT

Updated: May 17, 2022 05:30 PM GMT

About 3,000 migrant Catholics joined a celebration of faith and solidarity that the Hanoi Archdiocese organized to encourage them to live their faith despite hardships.

Catholics from some 29 migrant communities in Hanoi Archdiocese, and the dioceses of Bui Chu, Thai Binh and Hung Hoa attended the event on May 11, according to the archdiocesan website.

The event included a special Mass for the migrants and a discussion as part of talks on Synodality in the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hanoi told the gathering that migrant Catholics live their faith and bring vitality to the archdiocese.

“Our migrant brothers and sisters who came here from different dioceses are very good at living their faith. They also bring a vitality of faith to the Archdiocese of Hanoi,” Archbishop Thien  said during his homily.

The archdiocese every year arranges two major gatherings for migrant Catholics on the feast day of St. Joseph, the worker on May Day, and on International Migrants Day on Dec. 18.

This year, the May 1 celebration of St. Joseph’s feast day was moved to May 11 as many migrants traveled back home on that day for national holidays.

The archdiocese has an active ministry for migrant Catholics — the Migrant Affairs Committee — led by Father Joseph Tran Viet Tien. The committee carries out year-long activities to assist migrant workers and their families.

The services include prayer meetings, family visits and counseling sessions for migrant Catholics in communities.

Thanks to the Church’s efforts, the Catholic Family Pastoral Council has been formed to oversee pastoral and spiritual care for migrant Catholic families.

Archbishop Thien also thanked Redemptorist priests for their special ministry to migrant communities in Hanoi and other dioceses.

“The presence of migrants creates a beautiful, and colorful image of the Church, strong in faith and full of vitality and devotion. They are in full communion with the Church though they are far away from home,” he said.

The Church will continue to assist migrants to have a happy life with necessary spiritual and pastoral support, the prelate added.

According to the International Institute for Environment and Development, millions of Vietnamese live and work as migrants in major urban and industrial centers of the country including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, and Da Nang after escaping poverty in their home provinces.

Migrant workers were hit hard when the Covid-19 pandemic struck Vietnam as many were rendered jobless and homeless, development groups reported.

During the pandemic, the Church lent a helping hand to communities affected by the pandemic including migrants and ethnic villagers.

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