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By Hoang Huy Nguyen MSC - Community leader of the MSC in Vietnam

From the MSC Magazine

Hoang with Bishop of Thai Binh Province

Hoang with the Bishop of Thai Binh province

June 3th - 12th June, 2019, Chris and Hoang made a trip to North and Central Vietnam. The purpose of our trip is to live out the spirit of our founder "no one is a stranger nor foreigner but all are brothers in the heart of Christ”.

We went there to meet people in real life. We met those who are in authority such as bishops and parish priests, those who are parishioners, those who are living family life, those who are searching for meaningful life, searching for God, those who are trying to live out the Gospel’s values. Even though we are different in cultures, lifestyles, mentality and backgrounds, but all of these people and us are longing for God's love, for the Spirituality of Jesus’ Heart.

Benedictine Monastery in Thua Thien Hue Vietnam

Benedictine Monastery, Thua Thien Hue

On June 4th, we met Joseph Vu Van Thien, Archbishop of Hanoi Archdiocese. In our conversation, he shared about some difficulties in doing mission and ministry here. There is a great need of presence of missionaries with people in remote areas (ethnic peoples); but the difficulty is their mentality. They don't have a need to go to school, to church for mass, to study and improve course of life.

Another difficulty is economic problems. Most of them are very poor and life is so hard. They have to suffer so many disadvantages. The local governments strictness is also another obstacle for doing mission here. The Archbishop also stressed the need for mission here. The people need help in living out the values of the Gospel. They need to be upgraded in knowledge, culture, improvement, in their course of life. And there is a great need of presence of religious and priests in the parishes.

Sacred Heart Cathedral at Thai Binh Diocese

Sacred Heart Cathedra, Thai Binh

On 7th June, we visited another diocese, Thai Binh diocese (around 110 km away from Hanoi, the capital). In conversation with the bishop, Peter Nguyen Van De, we could see that he was very happy to welcome religious communities in the diocese.

This is a very large diocese, covering two big provinces, with around 140,000 Catholics (4.2% of the population of the diocese's area). 110 parishes, 370 sub- parishes, and around 140 priests. Thus, there is a great need of priests to minister the parishes.

The bishop’s wish is to have more presences of religious, especially missionaries; so that the evangelisation of the Church would be developed more and more. The bishop said that the local government here somehow is more welcoming compared to Hanoi.

bell tower of Phát Diệm Cathedral in Ninh Binh Province

Bell Tower of Phat Diem Cathedral in Ninh Binh province

Chris's suggestion is that we may be present and involved more in the diocese. And in future we may have one parish to minister. This is a good way to spread the Spirituality of the Heart through our presence with the people. But this really needs more preparation.

The shrine of Our Lady of LaVang where Our Lady appeared under a banyan tree in 1798

Shrine of Our Lady of LaVang

On June 8th, we flew to Central Vietnam. We visited the most famous pilgrimage site in Vietnam Central, Our Lady of La Vang church.

Our Lady of Lavang Chruch

Our Lady of LaVang Church

We spent time in one rehabilitation house, run by one religious priest. Then we went to Da Nang, a new city. And on June 12th, we travelled back to Saigon.

with Archbishop of Hanoi

Hoang, Chris and the Archbishop of Hanoi