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Vietnamese bishops focus on laity formation

Laypeople to be trained in faith practice as training facilities are expanded

UCA News reporter, Ho Chi Minh City

UCA News reporter, Ho Chi Minh City

Published: April 19, 2021 05:53 AM GMT

Updated: April 19, 2021 07:00 AM GMT

Vietnamese bishops focus on laity formation

Bishops pay a brief visit to Lovers of the Holy Cross nuns during their biannual meeting on April 11-16 in Nha Trang. (Photo: giaophannhatrang.org)

Bishops in Vietnam have drawn up definite plans for training laypeople in faith practice and expanding training facilities.

Twenty-five active archbishops and bishops from the country’s 27 dioceses attended their first biannual meeting on April 12-16 at Nha Trang Bishop’s House in the coastal city. Also present was Emeritus Cardinal Archbishop Peter Nguyen Van Nhon of Hanoi.

Singapore-based Archbishop Marek Zalewski, non-resident representative of the Holy See to Vietnam, sent a congratulation letter to the meeting, explained Pope Francis' encyclical Fratelli Tutti, meaning Brothers All, to Vietnamese bishops and briefed them on the pope’s historic apostolic journey to Iraq.

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Archbishop Zalewski, who has not paid regular pastoral visits to the Southeast Asian country since February 2020 due to preventive measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19, called on local bishops to look for suitable ministry plans to serve the faithful and help them to be utterly dedicated to God’s love in the current situation.

Local prelates decided that all parishes in dioceses celebrate special Masses and hold devotions to St Joseph on Wednesdays until the end of the Year of St Joseph on Dec. 8. Catholics are urged to fervently pray to the foster father of Jesus to protect the universal Church and the local Church.

Bishop Joseph Nguyen Duc Cuong of Thanh Hoa, head of the Episcopal Commission for Peace and Justice, planned to train the laity in living out faith among society by providing foundation courses in on environment, peace, justice, dialogue and human rights based on the Church’s social teaching for 2022-25.

The participants planned to train more teaching staff by sending candidates to study abroad.

The Episcopal Commission for Evangelization, headed by Bishop Alfonse Nguyen Huu Long of Vinh, will work with Long Xuyen Diocese to organize a national meeting on “Proclaiming the Good News by telling stories of Jesus.”

During the five-day meeting, Archbishop Joseph Vui Van Thien of Hanoi, deputy secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam, was assigned to explore the possibilities of founding main facilities for the Catholic Institute of Vietnam in his archdiocese. The local Church’s first national institute launched in 2015 is now based at a building in Ho Chi Minh City and lent by the northern diocese of Bac Ninh for 25 years.

The participants planned to train more teaching staff by sending candidates to study abroad.

They also agreed to set up a center for clergy to go into retreat and get treatment for their problems based in Bao Loc City.

The prelates decided to express the local Church’s heartfelt gratitude to foreign missionaries by instigating the legal process of the causes for canonization of the country’s first two bishops, Pierre de la Motte of Dang Trong (Cochinchine) and Francois Pallu of Dang Ngoai (Tonkin), who led the first vicariates that were established in 1659, and Bishop Jean Cassaigne, who dedicated himself to serving lepers from ethnic minority groups in Di Linh.

The bishops planned to schedule their next meeting for Oct. 11-15 at Thai Binh Bishop’s House, when Thai Binh Diocese will celebrate the 85th anniversary of its establishment.

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