Danang (Agenzia Fides) - It is a Lent that is affected by the measures of "social distancing", is what is being experienced by the Catholic community of Vietnam. But these measures do not affect faith and the lively spiritual participation of the faithful. Although the country currently has only some 2,500 cases and 35 deaths linked to Covid-19, the government continues to implement health security measures in the areas considered most at risk. This is why in certain areas of the country, access to churches has been prohibited, as has the organization of events open to the public, including Masses. The local churches interested in these measures seek in any case to guarantee the celebrations live on the Internet by resorting to new technologies.
Liturgical and pastoral activity continues with ardor, however, in the less affected Dioceses. In Danang Cathedral, for example, the celebration of Ash Wednesday as well as that of Lenten Sundays saw a large influx of faithful, however, obliged to respect the standards in terms of distancing. Every Friday, the various local parishes meet to relive the Passion of Christ through the pious exercise of the Stations of the Cross and to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The spiritual impetus and the penitential attitude of conversion characterize the participation of the faithful, many of whom are young.
It should be noted that in Vietnam, the beginning of Lent coincides with one of the most heartfelt traditional festivals of the national calendar, the festivity of Tet, Lunar New Year, a period characterized by ceremonies and rites of thanksgiving to Buddha for the past year and for the one to come. In this festive context, the local Church continues her Lenten journey with an attitude of community prayer, fasting and almsgiving, in order to prepare to celebrate Easter. As Fides sources indicate, the surrounding feast and joy that involves everyone, is not regected, but the Catholic faithful in Vietnam then warmly welcome the Lenten season, following the indications of the Pope and the Church for this specific liturgical season. Parishes aross the country are colored purple and the faithful are asked to participate intensely and in silence in Lent, following in the footsteps of Jesus and carrying out a journey of interior purification that leads to the celebration of Easter. (AD-LF) (Agenzia Fides, 10/3/2021)