Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien offers lucky money to people at the year-end party in Hanoi on Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy of tonggiaophanhanoi.org)
The head of Hanoi Archdiocese has called on Catholics to promote a culture of care and communion with one another in the lunar new year.
Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien held a special lunar year-end party for 100 elderly people at his residence on Jan. 30.
Sisters and Caritas workers served a square meal ahead of Tet, the Lunar New Year festival that starts on Feb. 10.
Archbishop Thien said year-end parties, part of the Tet tradition, are good opportunities for family members to show love, unity and solidarity with one another and welcome a new year.
He said Jesus came to proclaim his Father’s love and care for the poor and marginalized, and today “the Church continues its mission by receiving people in need as its patrimony and giving priority to serving them.”
The 61-year-old prelate warmly greeted his guests and invited them to enjoy peace and happiness in the coming Year of the Buffalo. He and some priests also offered them “lucky money” as presents.
On the same day, Caritas in Hanoi gave Tet gifts to 150 homeless people and those in difficult situations.
In his new year pastoral letter to Catholics, Archbishop Thien said the spring is of hope of God’s love and human love in the circumstances. Christians believe that when people live in harmony and care for one another, they convey divine love through their good deeds to other people.
“We must bring God’s love to others by doing good things for others,” he said, adding that people need to be in communion with one another so as to overcome natural disasters and the deadly coronavirus.
He said a culture of care is a path to peace and called on people to safeguard the environment, care for our common home and especially provide those people in need with loving care.
Archbishop Thien, vice secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam, said the local Church takes promotion of and living in communion as its pastoral directions in 2021. “Communion expresses the life of faith and beauty of the Church and spreads the Good News in the social environment,” he said.
He also called on people to walk with young married couples by helping them discover the meaning of Christian marriage and show God’s love for the Church.
He warned against misunderstandings of love and marriage, gender equality and freedom of sex that undermine family values based on church teaching and national traditions.
The prelate asked Catholics to pray for the archdiocese’s unity, work with one another for love and communion in their families, parishes, associations and wider communities. He advised them to daily recite the prayers of communion.
Archbishop Thien, who also serves as apostolic administrator of Hai Phong, said his home diocese has been vacant and suffered a lack of active pastoral activities since he was named to Hanoi. He called on local Catholics to daily pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and the Glory be at local churches for the diocese’s unity and a new episcopal nomination in the new year.