Vietnamese Catholics focus on helping families in need

They have been asked to console those whose marriages have ended to help keep their faith strong, especially during Lent
Vietnamese Catholics focus on helping families in need

A Vietnamese couple arrives for their wedding Mass inside Hanoi's Catholic cathedral in this 2006 file image. The Vietnamese bishops have recently launched a ministry program aiming to strengthen marriages. (Photo by Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP)

Vietnamese bishops have called upon Catholics to assist families in need during Lent, as part of a three-year ministry inspired by Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on the family.

Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Vinh Diocese wrote a Lenten letter that was read out during weekend Masses on March 3-4. "This Lent, I would like to invite all parishes to journey with young couples and families in need," he said in the letter said.

Bishop Hop said that caring for young couples and those in irregular unions is an urgent task in Vinh Diocese where there are 550,000 Catholics. The bishop called on parish priests to organize seminars and courses for married couples in accordance with pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia and the Vietnamese bishops' Letter for Catholic Families issued on Nov. 20.

The Vietnamese bishops recently launched a 2017-2019 family ministry program: Preparations for Youth Entering Married Life, Journeying With Young Families and Journeying with Families with Problems, which is aimed at strengthening marriages.

Bishop Hop asked Catholics to visit and console those whose marriages have ended and to "help them keep their faith strong."

 

Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Vinh visits a Catholics at Tho Vuc Parish on March 4. (Photo courtesy of giaophanvinh.net)

 

The bishop also called on parishes to count the number of families with problems and send them to the bishop's office by March 26.

Archbishop Paul Bui Van Doc of Ho Chi Minh City urged local priests to encourage those who have divorced and remarried to take part in services and pastoral activities, except for receiving communion. He admitted: "Cases of divorce and remarriage today are quite widespread."

Bishop Joseph Nguyen Nang of Phat Diem in northern Vietnam asked family members to "respect, forgive, sympathize and treat one another with real love" this Lent, which began March 1.

The prelate said that many women had to resort to divorce due to domestic violence, and fights with their in-laws. 

He urged families to show mercy to one another. "Only mercy heals suffering in familial and social life," he said.  

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