ASIA/VIETNAM - Holy See delegation makes annual visit to Vietnam to voice the Pope’s affection and concern for the local Catholic community which in return assures him of its loyalty and love

Tuesday, 4 May 2004

Vatican City (Fides Service) - A delegation of the Holy See visiting Vietnam from 27 April to 2 May was warmly welcomed by all the members of the local Church, bishops priests and religious and lay Catholics and also civil authorities.
The delegation met with local Catholics and national authorities. The Holy See delegation was composed of Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican Under Secretary for Relations with States Mgr. Luis Mariano Montemayor, Nunciature Councillor, and Mgr Barnaba Nguyên Van Phuong, official of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
The delegation had talks with the government Office for Religious Affairs and discussed in a positive spirit the life and activity of the Church in Vietnam. The delegates also met vice foreign minister Le Cong Phung, to discuss relations between Vietnam and the Holy See and steps made towards normalisation.
The representatives of the Holy See visited several dioceses and had meeting with church personnel including the Bishops, the President and members of the standing council of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam and the Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Hanoi, including Cardinal J. Baptiste Phan Minh Man, Bishop Paul Nguyen Van Hoa, and Bishop Pietro Nguyen Soan.
The Bishops illustrated the situation of the Church in Vietnam composed of more than 5.5 million Catholics who profess authentic faith despite many difficulties. The communities are lively and active and vocations are flourishing.
The delegation visited the dioceses of Xuân Lôc and Ban Mê Thuôt where they celebrated Mass in a spirit of deep ecclesial communion. Catholics in Xuân Lôc diocese are almost one million. In the diocese of Buon Ma Thuot in central Vietnam central, where the people are mainly montagnards, there are many Christians.
The spirit of the visit was joyful and enthusiastic in communion with the Pope. The people offered a warm welcome to the delegation of the Holy See which carried to them the affection and concern of Pope John Paul II. In return the Catholics in Vietnam sent the Pope their loyalty and love.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 4/5/2004 lines 38 words 388)