Updated: October 01, 2021 03:12 AM GMT
Catholics give offerings during the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Xa Doai Cathedral in Nghe An on Aug. 15. (Photo: UCA News)
Catholics in Vietnam's central dioceses where religious activities have returned to normal plan to observe special days to pray and fast in October to end the rampaging coronavirus.
The bishop said the rosary resounds from individuals, families, communities and parishes like incense offered to the Holy Trinity by the mother's maternal hands, that pass countless blessings of souls and bodies on to them.
The 68-year-old prelate called on people to respond to pastoral activities in October proposed by Vietnam's bishops, who declared Oct. 17 the National Day of Praying for Healing in the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the coronavirus outbreak has taken a heavy toll on human lives and seriously affected people's activities. Since the outbreak first hit Vietnam in early 2020, some 780,000 infections and 20,000 deaths have been recorded.
"Our diocese will spend that day together fervently appealing to the God of love to have mercy on humanity and end the pandemic soon," he said.
Each of you should do a good deed to support the victims of the pandemic
In addition to Masses at churches, he asked parishes to give Eucharistic adoration and recitation of the rosary in accordance with this intention.
The prelate said local bishops also chose Oct. 22 as the National Day of Fasting to pray for the outbreak to come to an end.
"I would like you all to enthusiastically respond by fasting that day as you do on Ash Wednesdays and Good Fridays. Each of you should do a good deed to support the victims of the pandemic," he said.
Bishop Long said in the past when the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast out deaf and dumb spirits, Jesus replied: “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
These actions show that the power of God's grace is from prayer, and the strength of people is due to suppressing carnal lust. So these combined methods will help people to defeat the devil in the spiritual realm.
Facing the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said: "We believe that fervent prayer along with the suppression of lust will touch God who will save the world from the health crisis."
Bishop Long, who serves as head of the Episcopal Commission for Evangelization of Vietnamese bishops, said that to celebrate World Mission Day on Oct. 24, Catholics must always go on missionary journeys according to Jesus' mandate.
All clergy, religious, laity and Catholic associations in the diocese must be fully aware of the urgent mission. They should pray for evangelization, preach and live out Good News values in daily life.
The diocese covering Nghe An province — where Catholicism was introduced as early as 1629 by foreign Jesuits — is home to 300,000 Catholics among the total population of 3.4 million.
The prelate, who heads the Vietnam Missionary Society, thanked local congregations and parishes for generously offering food to migrant workers from southern provinces in quarantined places. Local nuns voluntarily support healthcare givers in providing large-scale tests. Local people also provided basic food for coronavirus victims in southern cities and provinces.
He asked people in isolated areas to obey the government’s preventative measures to contain the pandemic
Catholics hailing from Vinh in the United States have made generous donations to the local Church.
Bishop Long said their good deeds “show the beauty of Catholicism that is a religion of love, embracing and sharing everyone's suffering.”
On Sept. 28, Father Barnaba Tran Dinh Phuc, secretary of Hue Archbishop’s House, said the coronavirus outbreak in Thua Thien Hue province was under control, so local churches and chapels would be reopened for public religious activities.
Father Phuc said attendances are limited to 50 at one time and participants are required to wear face masks, wash hands with disinfectant, maintain proper distance from one another and make health declarations.
He asked people in isolated areas to obey the government’s preventative measures to contain the pandemic.
Since Sept. 12, eight local priests and sisters have been offering spiritual and psychological support to people who are affected by the coronavirus regardless of their backgrounds.
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