Bishops and priests in Vietnam have called on people to work for the common good and human values in the Lunar New Year. The Year of the Pig, which begins on Feb. 5, is traditionally considered a year of affluence and pure luck. Bishop Joseph Dinh Duc Dao
of Xuan Loc said pork is the main course used for parties at weddings, church inaugurations, anniversary celebrations and all big feasts and ceremonies. The pig becomes a catalyst for bringing people together in unity and jollity. “I would like to wish each of us to become a meeting point connecting all people around us and giving sheer delight to other people in the new year,” Bishop Dao said. Bishop Dao, head of the Episcopal Commission on Catholic Education of the Vietnamese bishops' conference, said people traditionally save money by putting money in piggy banks and using savings for important and useful things. The prelate urged Catholics not to waste money, energy and time on unnecessary things but to “wisely spend them on the common good.” He said persons’ lives are formed by good deeds each day, so “I wish you to accumulate good things and perform kind acts in your families and parishes to praise God and serve communities.” Father Anthony Le Ngoc Thanh, a human rights advocate, said people should promote the spirit of patriotism in the new year through actions such as using piggy banks to save money. Last year many people were arrested and imprisoned for staging protests against economic development drafts
and the supposed risk of a Chinese invasion. Father Thanh said the government does not encourage real patriotism but prefers the love of socialism, which he said has no nation. He said the local Catholic Church aims to heal the psychological and physical wounds of victims of injustice caused by government authorities. Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh
, head of the Vietnamese bishops’ conference, called on all Vietnamese people around the world regardless of their backgrounds to turn a blind eye to hatred, division and discrimination and to be peaceful, happy and loved by others like their siblings. He hopes the Vietnamese community will become a great family filled with love, unity and God’s grace. During Vietnam’s Tet festival to celebrate the new year, Catholics pray for national wealth on the first day and visit cemeteries and pray for ancestors on the second day.