Updated: October 05, 2021 11:27 AM GMT
Priests and sisters meet government authorities before serving Covid-19 patients at hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo courtesy of tgpsaigon.net)
Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang of Ho Chi Minh City has urged Catholics to provide loving care for those suffering, especially children who have been orphaned by the coronavirus pandemic.
The 68-year-old prelate, who serves as the deputy of Vietnamese bishops, said over 1,500 children were reportedly orphaned by the Covid-19 virus but the actual number could be much higher.
Archbishop Nang noted that some orphans were being taken care of with the cooperation of parishes and some families and said it would be wonderful if they could sponsor or foster orphans for a long time.
He called on all orders, parishes and associations to take part in the pastoral care of orphans, which is important for their future as well as for social stability.
“I would like to ask all priests, pastoral councils and lay apostolic groups to look for the flock by visiting or calling them to know their circumstances and count how many patients, deaths, orphans and people who are in need, alone and left parishes,” Archbishop Nang said.
He said it is time the shepherds searched for the sheep and looked after them as good shepherds know their flock.
Archbishop Nang called on local people to strengthen their faith life by attending services after religious activities resumed
Archbishop Nang asked local people to comfort, encourage and support those who are wrapped up in misery. “A few words of encouragement and frequent visits will give them strength and mental energy to get up and keep walking.”
He said the local Catholic Businesspeople Association was offering financial support to some families, especially orphaned students, and will continue their help in the long term.
Archbishop Nang called on local people to strengthen their faith life by attending services after religious activities resumed after over four months of suspension due to the pandemic.
“For now, we have to accept the low attendance in churches because although the majority of local people have been vaccinated fully, the risk of infection is still high,” he said.
He said in the future when activities return to normal, they should attend Masses and receive the Eucharist that is their divine life. They should not let their hearts get cold because of the long gap.
“We implicitly trust in the loving providence of our Heavenly Father and put our hope in the Risen Christ,” he said.
He called on local priests to celebrate a special Mass on Oct. 17 to pray for victims of the Covid-19 virus. Parishes will also hold Eucharistic adoration, recitation of rosaries and Divine Mercy on that day.
He said all Catholics shall fast and make sacrifices on Oct. 22 to atone for their sins as well as those of mankind and do charitable deeds to help the poor.
The two special days have been set aside for prayers by Vietnamese bishops.
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.