Photo courtesy of Father Joseph Le Quang Uy
Hanoi (Agenzia Fides) - The local faithful remember how he encouraged and consoled them, with great examples of faith, the day after the fall of Saigon in 1975: the Redemptorist Fr. Matthew Vu Khoi Phung died aged 76, on 2 March, and all remember him as one of those courageous priests who helped not to extinguish the wick of faith, while the Church was going through hard times in the country. As Fides learns from the Redemptorists in Vietnam, he dedicated himself to the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed, working all his life for justice and peace.
In the last phase of life he led the Redemptorist monastery in Hanoi. The faithful appreciated him as a man and religious who dedicated himself to live and witness the Gospel, bringing hope to the poor and the victims of social injustice.
Even when the condition of the Church was critical and many activities were prohibited, under Communism, Fr. Matthew held meetings on the Bible, the sacraments in secret, and continued to teach catechism to strengthen the faith of young people. During his life he initiated several programs and social initiatives to help the needy, including migrants and AIDS patients.
In recent years he dedicated himself to the commitment in defense of human rights, visiting several imprisoned activists and people arrested for political or religious reasons. His funeral, celebrated on March 5 in Hanoi, was attended by thousands of Catholics, the faithful promised to follow his example and continue his evangelical work and social engagement. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 10/03/2016)