In the Year of Faith, the mission is a 'challenge' for Vietnamese Catholics

In the Year of Faith, the mission is a 'challenge' for Vietnamese Catholics


Vietnam's Catholic Church is preparing to celebrate the Year of Faith, which Benedict XVI announced in his apostolic letter Porta Fideion 11 October 2011, through a series of meetings, pastoral initiatives and mission-centred activities, with special emphasis on the laity's contribution.

The Year of Faith will be inaugurated on 11 October 2012, 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, and will end on 24 November 2013, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe.

The year will be a "missionary challenge" in a country marked by decades of atheism imposed by Communist ideology, an element to use over the next few years to "reach that 90 per cent of Vietnamese who are not Catholic."

A few days ago, the Pastoral Committee of the Family of the Vietnam Bishops' Council organised its annual meeting with special focus on the Year of Faith. During the two-day event (27-28 September), the 21 heads of diocesan committees and representatives of 26 dioceses looked at family-centred activities and pastoral initiatives for 2012-2013.

In the Diocese of Long Xuyen, southwestern Vietnam, members emphasised missionary activities for children and parents.

In the Diocese of Phu Cuong, the bishop, religious and the faithful focused on issues such as marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics, looking at the problems and difficulties that mixed couples entail. A large number of catechumens were present along with catechists.

In the Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City, the local pastoral centre looked at more than 150 issues, ranging from catechism and seminars to parishioner training.

In a letter to the faithful, Mgr Vo Duc Minh, from the Diocese of Nha Trang, wrote, "Every member of the diocesan family must show determination for others." This, the prelate noted, requires participation in the Mass, receiving the Eucharist and reciting the Rosary at home.

For Fr Mark Bui Quan Duc, a Redemptorist clergyman in Ho Chi Minh City, the greatest "challenge" for Vietnamese Catholics is the missionary task that each Christian must undertake.

In a nation where the desire for faith is growing, where 85 per cent of the population follows a religion, it is necessary to ask, "How we can approach and contact that 90 per cent that is not Catholic."

In order to meet this challenge, the laity's contribution is fundamental, he said.