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Vietnam Church pushes care for migrants

A set of pastoral guidelines for migrants is due to be approved by Vietnamese bishops

Catholic clergy, religious, and laypeople join a gathering of migrant workers from Ha Tinh diocese in Ho Chi Minh City in May

Catholic clergy, religious, and laypeople join a gathering of migrant workers from Ha Tinh diocese in Ho Chi Minh City in May. (Photo: giaophanhatinh.com)

Published: October 04, 2022 06:59 AM GMT

Updated: October 04, 2022 07:47 AM GMT

Catholic priests from all dioceses in Vietnam attending a major national conference have been told to work together and prioritize care for migrant communities at home and abroad.

More than 40 priests in charge of ministries for migrants in dioceses and for religious congregations attended the gathering at Nha Trang Bishop's House in Khanh Hoa province from Sept. 27-29.

Bishop Louis Nguyen Anh Tuan, head of the Vietnamese Bishops’ Commission for Migrants, said all pastors should take on the responsibility of accompanying and taking care of migrant workers and people on the move, especially vulnerable children and women.

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Bishop Tuan of Ha Tinh diocese reminded participants that tending to migrants and immigrants is a major pastoral priority of the Church.

The conference was an opportunity for all participants to share their practical experiences in offering pastoral care to migrants, draw useful lessons, give pastoral suggestions to help one another, and show communion with one another, the prelate said.

"if we are generous and compassionate enough, all problems will be dealt with"

Father Joseph Dao Nguyen Vu, secretary of the bishops’ migrant commission, said priests need to be in agreement with one another on pastoral issues so that they can create the best conditions for domestic migrants to live out their faith and serve Vietnamese workers in other countries well.

“Migrant ministry comes from the heart of pastors, if we are generous and compassionate enough, all problems will be dealt with,” he said.

During the meeting, participants re-evaluated pastoral guidelines for migrants for local priests to carry out their ministry and support migrants to allow them to practice their faith properly.

The guidelines, which have been tested by local dioceses since 2017, are expected to be formally approved by Vietnamese bishops in the coming days.

They listened to talks about challenges, problems, and hopes from migrants, and Church regulations on marriage. They also met online with representatives of Vietnamese immigrants in Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand.

Father Peter Nguyen Doai, chancellor of Ha Tinh diocese, announced that Bishop Tuan plans to hold a gathering for Vietnamese migrants in Thailand on Oct. 16. The bishop will meet and celebrate a special Mass for them at the Chair of St. Peter Church in Bangkok.

Father Doai said the gathering will be a good opportunity for Vietnamese Catholics who live, work and study in Thailand to interact and support one another in spiritual and material life.

He said the event will offer a good opportunity to express solidarity, unity, and love to bear witness to the Good News among challenges in their life.

Tens of thousands of Vietnamese migrants live and work in Thailand, most of them from the northern provinces of Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, and Thanh Hoa.

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