New churches inaugurated in northern Vietnam

New churches in northern Vietnam

Dioceses in northern Vietnam are building new churches to replace those damaged or abandoned during the Vietnam War.

An estimated one million people, including clergy and religious, moved to the south of the country after communist forces defeated French troops and took control of the north in 1954.

Local Catholics suffered religious restrictions. They were left without priests for decades and could not afford to preserve church facilities.

The situation has improved in recent decades, with local catholics donating land and volunteering to work at the construction sites.

This year Hanoi Archdiocese has inaugurated seven new churches, four pastoral houses and one convent, and started the construction of two new churches.

Churches are also appearing in remote areas and at old parishes abandoned by catholics decades ago.

On May 31, Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hanoi inaugurated the Visitation of the Virgin Mary Church in Thuy Xuyen Sub-parish in Thuong Tin district of the capital Hanoi.

In his homily, Archbishop Thien said: “This church is as important as the heart, so each catholic is like blood flowing to the heart to receive life, freshness and vitality. Then, after being refined, we return to fill our homes and communities with joy, zing and hope.”

According to church history, two sub-parishes of Xam Thi and Xam Xuyen were established in 1939, and local catholics built chapels. But many faithful left to avoid the war while others suffered religious restrictions. The chapels were ruined by the weather.

Father Joseph Van Dinh Khanh started to provide pastoral care in the nineties by combining the two sub-parishes into Thuy Xuyen Subparish. He bought a house for local people to use as a chapel.

Joseph Uong Duc Tuyen, a local catholic, offered a plot of land to the sub-parish. With donations from benefactors, including followers of other faiths, the church costing 4 billion dong (US$174,000) was built.

In May, Archbishop Thien opened another new church at Dong Nhan Subparish in Hoai Duc district.

He thanked Father Joseph Do Huu Thoa and his predecessor Father Anthony Pham Van Giang for making efforts to build the church to preserve the local faith heritage.

“All people, regardless of their backgrounds, have good hearts and work for the good. That is the beauty of the Catholic Church and the nation,” he said in gratitude to followers of other faiths who attended the inauguration.


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