Church leaders have encouraged thousands of Catholic youths from northern Vietnam to defend victims of injustice and donate organs to save people in need. About 15,000 youngsters from 10 northern dioceses attended a Northern Youth Day gathering held by Hai Phong Diocese at the state-run International Fair Exhibition Center in Hai Phong City on Nov. 14-15. Bishop Thomas Vu Dinh Hieu
of Bui Chu warned participants against a state of rampant insensibility to sufferings of victims of injustice. "Many people coolly use smartphones to video or take pictures of cases of domestic and school violence, physical fights among students and even students fighting teachers, to post on social media and attract negative comments," Bishop Hieu said. He said they should do something to prevent such incidents and save victims. "Catholic youths act like God's friends and become apostles of other people," the bishop said, adding that Catholics should protect and save vulnerable people in society. Asked if Catholics could make organ donations, Bishop Hieu said the church promotes organ donations to give others new lives as Christian charitable acts. He said many Catholics from the dioceses of Bui Chu and Phat Diem have pledged to donate their corneas after death to the Central Eye Hospital in Hanoi to help people suffering from eye problems. The head of Caritas Vietnam
said Catholics from his diocese had donated corneas to help five patients. Bishop Joseph Nguyen Nang
of Phat Diem told participants to take responsibility for building and protecting the church by living a life with Christian dignity, doing good things for communities, bringing the Good News to other people and safeguarding the environment. Bishop Nang said a barber who cuts his hair had made a Christmas star and offered it to a non-Catholic old man. The old man hung the star in front of his home and asked the barber to take him to attend Christmas celebrations at church. "We should bear witness to God by bravely talking about Catholic values to people," he said. The gathering loudly repeated Bishop Nang's words: "Help everyone, don't disturb people, don't drop garbage." Mary Tran Thi Hien from Yen Bai parish said she learned useful things from the gathering. "The meeting gave me strength and excitement to face difficulties and bear witness to God in my daily life," she said. "I am proud of being a Catholic." Cardinal Peter Nguyen Van Nhon of Hanoi presided at the closing Mass joined by 300 priests. During the gathering, participants learned catechism, gave cultural performances, watched Bible plays, attended Eucharistic adoration and went to confession.