Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
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by J.B. Vu

1/20/11 Vietnam (Asianews) – “Some congregations have invited me to celebrate Mass, but public authorities have not allowed me and even some members of the Episcopal Conference look at me as if I were a ‘with hui’, a leper”, says Father Vincent Pham Trung Thanh (pictured),in an interview with AsiaNews.  He is provincial superior of the Redemptorists, a religious order present in Vietnam since 1924, that combines the proclamation of the Gospel and the defence of human rights, especially the right to religious freedom.

Always strongly committed to evangelization, the current provincial does his best to maintain and develop the missionary activity in areas where there were present before unification in 1975. Since the ’90s, in particular, they have organized pastoral, social and charitable activities in the district of Can Gio, an impoverished and forgotten area, near Ho Chi Minh City.

The Redemptorists have been present there since 1991. They have created a forum for free health care, in collaboration with the local Red Cross. The religious care for the elderly, orphans and abandoned children. Schools for the disabled were set up in 1992 and hundreds of children have been cared for and helped in relief centres based on the principals of community.

Elsewhere, hundreds of needy children and young people have been given access to schools for study or professional courses, in poor communities such as Can Gio, An Nghia, An Thoi Dong in the Can Gio district. Missionary activities have also involved Hanoi , Ho Chi Minh City and the Highlands for ethnic minorities. . “Gia lang priest” Tin (father Tin) and the religious from his order have worked at Pleiku with the majority population and have baptized tens of thousands of people.

“They work – says father Than – for the good of all people, they pray and live for the service of the Gospel, to invite reconciliation between social groups and respect for justice and truth”

“I live and I offer my service to the faithful according to the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI. We are trying to move forward in a difficult environment to build peace, respect for human rights and religious freedom. So today I decided to talk to AsiaNews about my concerns. It pains me to be discriminated against, but still I put my trust in God and the Church, to serve my brothers and my sisters. “

“I’m Secretary of the Sacred Art Committee for the Conference of Bishops and am involved in the construction of the National Shrine of La Vang. I am witness to how hundreds of thousands of people, Catholic and non-Catholic go to Our Lady of La Vang to seek help for health, happiness, family, education of children, serenity and security in their life, they seek material and spiritual help. The construction began at the end of the Jubilee Year, Jan. 6, which celebrated 350 anniversary of the Church in Vietnam and the 50th anniversary of its hierarchy “

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