Updated: March 17, 2021 08:20 AM GMT
St. Joseph devotees pray at the Shrine of St. Joseph in Ho Chi Minh City on March 10. (Photo: UCA News)
Every night thousands of Catholics in formal clothes and candles in hand march in processions following pictures of St. Joseph decorated with flowers to their homes. Men bear pictures on colorful wooden bases on their shoulders.
At each house, they recite the Hail Mary 10 times, St. Joseph prayers, listen to Bible readings, reflect on Pope Francis' apostolic letter Patris Corde (With a father’s heart), sing hymns and pray for their ancestors and relatives. The prayer session lasts about half an hour. People clean their houses and make God’s altars beautiful to welcome St. Joseph’s devotees.
Father Dominic Tran Cong Hien, parish priest of Vo Dong in Vietnam's Dong Nai province, said the parish, which has 7,000 members in 38 groups to comply with coronavirus measures, started to hold daily devotions to the foster father of Jesus on Feb. 24, when he launched the St. Joseph devotion program by blessing 38 pictures of the saint.
Father Hien, who has served the parish since 2012, said the inter-family prayer sessions “aim at encouraging local families to devote themselves to the saint and follow his moral virtues in the Year of St. Joseph so that they could become homes of Divine Mercy.”