Updated: November 18, 2021 04:49 AM GMT
Catholics pray for the departed at a church in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo courtesy of tgpsaigon.net)
The Vietnamese Fatherland Front, an umbrella organization of the communist government, and Ho Chi Minh City authorities are to hold a national ceremony to memorialize those who have died during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Fatherland Front said the event aims at consoling and sharing the losses and distress of numerous grief-stricken families, promoting human love in the community and raising spirits.
The government body said all public entertainment will be suspended while the ceremony is aired on national television on Nov. 19 evening.
On Nov. 15, the government body asked all religious organizations across the country to respond to the national event by holding special memorial services according to their own traditions.
It said religious groups could ring bells, offer incense, candles and flowers, release lanterns and say prayers in places of worship, private homes or online.
On Nov. 15, Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, head of the executive council of the government-sanctioned Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, called on all pagodas and worship places to “simultaneously ring bells, light candles, offer incense, memorialize and pray for the souls of victims at 8pm on Nov. 19.”
In the spirit of communion of the month of praying for the souls, and through the intercession of Mother Mary and St. Joseph, we entrust our beloved ones and all dead people to divine mercy
The senior monk said this is purposeful Buddhist work and hoped that all monks, nuns and Buddhists would carry it out wholeheartedly.
Father Peter Kieu Cong Tung, chancellor of Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese, said local Catholics always pray for their ancestors and dead relatives including those who died of the contagion when they attend daily Mass.
Father Tung said they also pray for Covid-19 patients and the deceased during night prayers among their families and communities.
He said local churches had held the National Day of Praying for Healing in the Covid-19 pandemic on Oct. 17 at the request of Vietnam's bishops.
All churches and chapels in the archdiocese will ring bells for about five minutes in memory of those claimed by the pandemic at 8.30pm on Nov. 19 as a way of joining people around the country, the priest said.
“In the spirit of communion of the month of praying for the souls, and through the intercession of Mother Mary and St. Joseph, we entrust our beloved ones and all dead people to divine mercy," he said.
Cecilia Tran Thi Thanh Uyen from Ban Co Parish said she and her daughter still deeply grieve for her husband who died of the contagion three months ago.
She said they work at full stretch for a living and spend time helping out at a Boy Scouts group as a way to overcome their loss.
We plan to attend the Mass to pray for my husband and say prayers at home for him
The 49-year-old mother of one said her parish will ring bells for Covid-19 victims on Nov. 19 and hold a special Mass for them.
“We plan to attend the Mass to pray for my husband and say prayers at home for him,” she said, adding that “the ceremony will warm the cockles of the hearts of grieving families like us.”
She said they plan to hold a special ceremony marking her husband’s 100th day death anniversary on Nov. 20.
Lt. Col. Nguyen Thanh Phong from the city’s High Command said soldiers have delivered over 17,000 urns to bereaved families in the city. The urns of those from northern provinces will be delivered to their relatives next week.
As of Nov. 17, Ho Chi Minh City had recorded 17,239 of Vietnam's 23,270 Covid-19 deaths since the contagion hit it in early 2020.
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