Update on Vietnam Church
The director of Catholic Relief Services in the western United States, Jim DeHarpporte, talks about the state of the Catholic church in Vietnam
by R. W. Dellinger
10/30/09 Vietnam (TidingsOnline)–Jim DeHarpporte said CRS was “very busy these days” providing emergency help to the victims of a cyclone and typhoon in the Philippines and Vietnam, a tsunami in Samoa, an earthquake in Indonesia and a devastating drought stretching across Africa affecting the lives of 28 million people.
At the late-morning liturgy, Auxiliary Bishop Edward Clark spoke of the “remarketable experience” he just had spending two weeks in Vietnam. He told the catechists and directors of religious education that the church in northern Vietnam is very much a church of the poor, a church of the suffering today, and yet it is a church totally committed to evangelization.
But the bishop reported only in recent years had Catholics been allowed to practice and teach their faith openly. As a result, there was such a shortage of catechists that bishops were training them personally during weekend marathon sessions at special centers so they could then go back and teach the mostly uneducated people. The local bishops told him it was a tedious, step-by-step, slow process.