ASIA/VIETNAM - Caritas Vietnam: “Charity is our mission”

Tuesday, 13 December 2022 caritas   charity   evangelization   humanitarian aid  

Hai Phong (Agenzia Fides) - In the parish of Phú Xuân, in Ho Chi Minh city, Father Dominic Ngô Quang Tuyên has always been committed to evangelization and charity. He sought gestures of concrete closeness and help to families in need and shelter for the homeless and consolation for young people in need, and education for children from poor families. The 74-year-old priest from Ho Chi Minh City was imprisoned under the communist regime for 13 years, underwent six heart surgeries, and despite all the hardships his missionary spirit always remained ardent. Former General Secretary of the Commission for Evangelization of the Vietnamese Bishops' Conference and former National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Vietnam, also edited the translation of Pope Francis' doctrinal documents (such as the Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium") to make them available to Vietnamese people. "I discovered that Jesus Christ was always there for me and comforted me with his Word in the Gospel", he said.
Speaking at the Caritas conference held in the Hai Phong diocese (80 km east of the capital Hanoi) in recent days, the Catholic priest, who is now secretary of Caritas Vietnam, emphasized in this context the inseparable importance of charity and Evangelization: "All the baptized are called to a mission of charity towards the suffering and of spreading the Good News to all. This is God's mandate to us".
At the conference, Caritas Vietnam presented the projects carried out: emergency aid and repair of damaged houses after natural disasters and epidemics; protection and shelter for abandoned mothers and children; installation of drinking water systems in remote areas; Support for the poor and Covid-19 patients during the pandemic; Assistance, training and integration programs for HIV patients and the disabled; Providing scholarships to poor students and taking action to prevent human trafficking.
These works "help spread the love of God in the Vietnamese community and society," emphasized Father Joseph Ngo Si Dinh, OP, director of Caritas Vietnam. The President of Caritas Vietnam, Bishop Thomas Vu Dinh Hieu of Bui Chu, reminded the delegates of "the mission of Caritas to bring the mercy of Christ to the world and bring joy to the poor and suffering". The bishop also recalled the slogan "Act today for a better tomorrow" with which Caritas Internationalis calls on people all over the world to be aware of their environmental responsibilities, to protect the ecosystem and to minimize polluting emissions.
Paul Pham Tam Giang, representative of the Hai Phong Diocese Catholic Entrepreneurs Association, explained "best practices" of sustainable business management: "Helping one another, even in the business sphere, and working together to support the poor and marginalized are the key elements of our association. We also have some joint activities with Caritas Hai Phong and contribute to some charitable works," he stressed.
The representative of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, Vu Chien Thang, addressed the conference participants in a message in which he emphasized: "I appreciate the commitment of Caritas Vietnam in its service to the poor and thus the values of Vietnamese Catholics who live in the social life; they testify to a lifestyle oriented towards the good of the community and fully in accordance with the hospitable traditions of the Vietnamese people".
In conclusion, the various Caritas delegates from the dioceses pledged themselves "to discern and carry out the will of God and to work together for the mission of charity, so that the great mission that God entrusts to every Christian and every community can be fulfilled".
Currently, Caritas in Vietnam is present in 27 dioceses and works with its staff and volunteers in 2,079 parishes across the country. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 13/12/2022)