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Vietnamese scrap collectors urged to raise charity work

Volunteers called on to aid people in need in the spirit of ‘synodality in charity’
Used items collectors in colorful uniforms attend the feast of their patron St. Vincent de Paul at Nam Xa Church in Ha Nam province on Sept. 27

Used items collectors in colorful uniforms attend the feast of their patron St. Vincent de Paul at Nam Xa Church in Ha Nam province on Sept. 27. (Photo supplied)

Published: September 30, 2022 04:08 AM GMT
Updated: December 29, 2022 09:44 AM GMT

Hundreds of charity volunteers from a northern archdiocese in Vietnam have been called on to work hard to aid people in need.

On Sept 27, over 200 people representing scores of groups of junk collectors based in parishes in Hanoi Archdiocese attended the feast of their patron St. Vincent de Paul at Nam Xa church in Ha Nam province.

Father Paul Nguyen Van Doan, founder of the Committee for Scrap Collection of Hanoi Archdiocese, called on participants to continue their used-item collection that “is a small deed but brings in a positive act of love among other people."

Father Doan said in a society with modern amenities, many youths spend their time, money and energy on lavish entertainment and shopping and neglect charitable work.

He asked them to “take an active part in collecting scrap to discover the value of money and regularly visit people in need so that you can sympathize with them.” Their work also aims to protect the environment.

The priest also called on them to find new ways to work effectively and develop their groups by recruiting new members.

In his homily, Father Francis Xavier Tran Truyen Giao, who is in charge of Catholic youths in the archdiocese, said they should have divine love in their hearts and bring it to people in difficult situations through their charity activities.

Father Doan said the annual gathering is a good opportunity for them to interact and share their practical experience in collecting scrap and garbage, raising funds and serving people in need during the past year.

During the gathering with the theme "Synodality in Charity," people listened to talks, attended Mass and Eucharist adoration, carried a picture of St. Vincent de Paul around the church, performed action songs and sang hymns, talked about challenges and favors in their activities, and made future plans to spread their work among other people.

On the weekend, volunteers collect old cartons, iron and metal scrap, plastic waste and other used items from local families at parishes and gather them at parish houses to sell. Some groups earn over 100 million dong (over US$5,000) each per year.

They use the money to provide food and other basic supplies for old people without relatives and centers for orphans, disabled people, lepers and HIV/AIDS patients. They also build houses for poor people in remote areas.

The committee for scrap collection was established in 2009 in Hanoi by Father Doan. It now has over 1,200 members including students and old people from 70 groups and serves as part of Caritas in Hanoi.

Redemptorists set up the first group of junk collectors in Ho Chi Minh City in 2004, and its model rapidly spread among dioceses throughout the country.

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