ASIA/VIETNAM – Liturgical and pastoral activities resume in the Missionary Month

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Ho Chi Minh City – With the pandemic situation under control in many parts of Vietnam, and according to the new provisions of the central government, since 1 October, coinciding with the start of the Missionary Month, many Catholic dioceses have reopened their churches for the faithful, although with limited and controlled assistance. Manufacturing and trading activities have also gradually resumed and many people are returning to work and normal life. The Vietnamese faithful are happy to be able to participate directly in the Eucharistic celebrations again, after more than four months of absence: “We can satisfy our hunger for Eucharistic bread”, they say. As the pastoral letter of Msgr. Joseph Nguyen Nang, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Ho chi minh recalls: “For Catholics, the Mass is essential, both in the personal dimension of the encounter with God through the Sacrament of Communion, and in the community, gathered around a priest. Mass online cannot replace attendance in person but, in case of difficulty, it nourishes the faith of those who cannot go to church, in particular for the sick, the elderly and children”.
At the beginning of October, which is Missionary Month and also the Month of the Rosary, the Marian song resounds in Catholic communities and the prayer of the Rosary is prayed. Even in small villages, the communities of the faithful meet every evening in small groups of about 20 people, in different neighborhoods or parishes. In addition to offering prayers to the Virgin Mary, to alleviate the suffering of many people during the pandemic, the prayer of the Rosary recited in the community, in the streets, aims to give witness to the faith and the Kingdom of God to non-Christians. Mgr. Alfonso Nguyen Huu Long, bishop of the Diocese of Vinh, in his Pastoral Letter issued on the occasion of Missionary October and sent to Fides, says: “With World Mission Day, the entire month of October is dedicated to prayer and evangelization. The Church is always on the move: all the baptized faithful, the Bishop, priests, religious, seminarians and young people must be aware that they are called to mission, to give witness to Jesus Christ to those who do not know him” “This – he points out – should encourage us to pray, live and spread the Good News even more, so that every Catholic can give God’s love to those around him, first of all to friends, work colleagues, neighbors, praying and living with charity, according to a humble lifestyle marked by sincere love for others”. The text concludes: “Amidst the tragic events and the negative effects of the pandemic, there is a great need for generosity, benevolence and conscientious service. For every Catholic, this is a precious opportunity to fulfill the mission of helping and loving others, sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of God with those around him”.