Updated: April 05, 2021 08:49 AM GMT
Emeritus Bishop Joseph Dinh Duc Dao washes the feet of patients at Francis Shelter on April 1. (Photo courtesy of giaophanxuanloc.net)
An emeritus bishop who is known for Divine Mercy practice in a southern Vietnamese diocese took God’s love to patients and people with physical disabilities by washing their feet.
Bishop Joseph Dinh Duc Dao of Xuan Loc celebrated a special Mass of the Lord's Supper on April 1 with hundreds of patients, disabled people, staff members and people from elsewhere at the church-run Francis Shelter in Dong Nai province’s Trang Bom district.
“I am really excited to celebrate our Lord’s Last Supper Mass with all of you who are suffering various chronic diseases but are always loved by God,” Bishop Dao told the congregation, adding that the celebration was a great opportunity for them to meet Jesus Christ, who loves them with a special manner.
The 76-year-old bishop called on Massgoers to pray for patients and the staff to feel God’s true unconditional love for them. Jesus’ washing his disciples’ feet showed his humble service and love for the disciples who were happy because they were loved.
Bishop Dao, who stepped down due to his age on March 3, urged local people to follow Jesus’ example by seeking new ways to express their true love with others, especially patients, through their words and behavior.
The bishop, who made endless efforts to promote Divine Mercy in the diocese with one million Catholics during his eight-year term, said Jesus established the Sacrament of the Eucharist to be in and with people, and his body becomes our source of life.
“We are invited to break the bread of our life and offer other people, and go out to preach the Good News to those who have not heard about God so that they could recognize God who loves and cares for them,” he said.
He said his pastoral visit to the shelter aims at bringing Divine Mercy to the patients who should know that God is in them.
During the Mass, Bishop Dao, who marked the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination on March 27, knelt and washed the feet of 12 patients who suffer total blindness and paralysis of their limbs. This was the first time a local bishop had washed their feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper.
Children suffering from brain disorders with candles and cross in hands accompanied the prelate, who carried the Eucharist to a tabernacle. Massgoers then took turns to attend Eucharist adoration at the shelter.
After the Mass, Bishop Dao sat on the ground playing with people suffering cerebral palsy and talking with other patients.
The shelter, founded in 1999 by Joseph Bui Van Chau, a former English teacher who is dedicated to patients and abandoned people, is home to people with mental disorders, brain damage, cerebral palsy, complete or partial paralysis and impaired vision, orphans, homeless people and elderly people abandoned by their relatives.
Many of them need wheelchairs while others are confined to bed. They are cared for by nuns and lay volunteers.