ASIA/VIETNAM – Unrestricted Lent: return of Catholics to churches
Hanoi (Agency Fid have been lifted and almost completely abolished. As a result, citizens are free to move around and gather in churches. All dioceses in the country have removed daily online worship services and asked parishioners to attend in person at liturgical celebrations. On Sundays, a service will continue to be broadcast from the cathedral of each diocese for the sick and the elderly who cannot attend church. The resumption of Christian life activities “in presence” was warmly welcomed by the faithful all over the country, who are attending the celebrations in large numbers. In recent days, Catholics all over Vietnam have been fasting and praying, especially in communion with the universal Church, to ask for peace in Ukraine: Archbishop Alphonso Nguyen Huu Long de Vinh, in his Pastoral Letter for Lent, expressed his deep joy at seeing churches full of believers: “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused great ands damage these last two years in the world and even the Communion of men with God and among men themselves is threatened. Believers have long been barred from accessing the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. We must be vigilant not to fall back into a similar situation. Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic has made people suspicious of each other. for fear of contagion: they have become indifferent to each other and have lost friendship and affection for each other”. Lent, he continues, “is a time for conversion, that is, for returning to our Lord and renewing our intimate relationship with God.” Catholics are called to listen to the word of the Lord, to pray, to do penance and to be reconciled with God and their neighbour, underlined Bishop Cosma Dat of Bac Ninh in his pastoral letter to the faithful: “Lent is more important than ever. a favorable occasion for Christians to renounce their ego, to listen to the word of God and to meditate, to fast and to do works of charity” to “let the old man die in order to rise with Christ and announce the Good News of his resurrection”.
In the pastoral letter to the people of God, Archbishop Dominic Hoang Minh Tien, who recently took office in the diocese of Hung Hoa, writes: “All believers are called to bear witness fervently to Jesus Christ in the world today. today, by building a community solid in faith, zealous in the liturgy, concerned with love and works of charity, a community passionate about evangelization”. And to continue: “To fulfill this mission, each of us must renew his life, sanctify himself, sanctify his families and his communities. During this holy Lent it is necessary to dedicate the hours of family prayer, the time of catechesis, charitable works and maintain the daily celebration of the Eucharist”. (AD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 14/3/2022)