Updated: August 23, 2021 04:10 AM GMT
Young Catholic nuns are seen in Thu Duc in October 2020. (Photo courtesy of tgpsaigon.net)
Catholic educational institutes for religious in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese may close until next year due to the raging Delta variant of the Covid-19 pandemic, a church official says.
The institutes, however, will adopt optimal solutions like online courses for the upcoming academic year.
As the contagion is complicated and spreading in the southern city, it is unknown when local religious activities will return to normal, said Father Joseph Pham Quoc Van, head of Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese's interreligious committee.
"So a specific date for opening the new school year at local theological institutes cannot be determined but depends on the city government's decision to allow schools to reopen," he said in a letter on Aug. 18.
Referring to the experience of some professors, the Dominican priest said online study is a temporary solution as it does not bring good results.
"The formation of religious is a long and constant process that cannot be done hurriedly," he said.
If we cannot run one-year courses after mid-November, we will stop for a year and wait for the next academic year
If the opening of the academic year can take place before Nov. 15, the school year will be extended to the summer months and end around the end of July 2022, he said.
"If we cannot run one-year courses after mid-November, we will stop for a year and wait for the next academic year," he added.
The priest said rectors of local institutes have also taken initiatives to conduct their own courses as the regular academic year starts in September and ends in May.
The city's Education and Training Department announced that local schools will not hold opening ceremonies for the new school year due to Covid-19 but will start online courses in early September. Nursery schools will not be open until the pandemic is contained.
Father Van said the highly contagious outbreak has seriously affected local religious orders, and he called on religious to pray for recovery of those infected.
"In particular, I would like to express my deep communion and special prayers for the priests and sisters who have passed away during this deadly pandemic," he said.
A local women's religious group, Phu Cuong Dominican Sisters, has seen four elderly nuns die from Covid-19 and 90 other nuns infected, according to the order’s head, Sister Mary Nguyen Thi Bich Huong.
In the latest case, Sister Mary Nguyen Thi Kieu Luong died on Aug. 16 and her cremation was arranged in Dong Nai province.
Sister Huong had asked Dominican nuns to attend the funeral online and to pray for the deceased nun.
Thirty Lovers of the Holy Cross congregations have 9,000 members who serve Vietnam’s 27 dioceses and abroad
Bishop Joseph Do Manh Hung of Phan Thiet, in charge of the process for the cause for canonization of the late Bishop Lambert de la Motte, founder of local Lovers of the Holy Cross congregations, launched a Lambert Novena from Aug. 15-24.
Bishop Hung called on the faithful to take part in the novena prayer and to seek God’s support for the end of the pandemic and to comfort patients and their relatives.
Thirty Lovers of the Holy Cross congregations have 9,000 members who serve Vietnam’s 27 dioceses and abroad.
Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese has at least 10 philosophy and theology institutes for religious from 180 congregations, institutes and societies.
The city has recorded 160,000 infections and become the country’s epicenter of the Delta variant, which was first detected in late April.
Vietnam has recorded 302,000 cases and 6,770 deaths since the pandemic hit in early 2020.
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