Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - A careful family pastoral, prayer, and the quality of faith in families, are the secrets to keeping the vocations to priesthood alive in Vietnam: "If a family is holy, there are vocations", explains to Fides the Archbishop of Hochiminh Ville (formerly Saigon), His Exc. Mgr. Paul Bui Van Doc, who on June 29 received the Pallium from Pope Francis in St. Peter’s, with 23 other Archbishops.
The Archbishop, who is also President of the Episcopal Conference of Vietnam, told Fides: "I am very happy to have received the Pallium from Pope Francis. It was a very important and moving moment. Pope Francis is much loved by Catholics in Vietnam and appreciated even by non-Christians. In Vietnam, his preaching comes across thanks to mass media and social networks. Even the press controlled by the communist regime speaks well of him. They love his smile, his way of acting and speaking, his predilection for the poor. We hope that this appreciation can have a positive influence in the relations between Vietnam and the Holy See and to soon see the establishment of full and official diplomatic relations".
A priority for the local Church is the formation of priests and seminarians who continue to be a significant number: "We have in our inter-diocesan Major Seminary in Ho Chi Minh City (which welcomes candidates from the three dioceses) about 250 major seminarians. Vocations are flourishing. Across the country there are 8 major seminaries with more than 3,000 candidates, among diocesan and religious. However, the formation of young people is now more difficult for the influence of a culture of secularization, practical materialism, an individualistic mentality that is more insidious compared to the atheism of the state". At the root of the flourishing of vocations, explains Mgr. Paul, there is "the life of Christian families, that still has a good quality of faith and witness. This is why family pastoral is very important: the family is the cradle of vocations, if there are holy families, we will have more priests. At a diocesan level, we place great emphasis on family pastoral".
Among the new pastoral needs of the local Church today there is the apostolate towards internal migrants, given the massive displacement of people from the countryside to the big cities. "In a city of 7 million inhabitants as Ho Chi Minh City, two million have arrived, of whom 200 thousand Catholics in need of everything. Thanks to Caritas, we try to coordinate all the components of the local Church such as religious congregations, parishes, lay movements, in order to assist these brothers and sisters. The Church in Vietnam - concluded the Archbishop - continues to show great attention to the poor and marginalized, as a testimony of the love of Christ and as a sign of care for the common good of society". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 02/07/2014)