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Thousands welcome Vatican envoy to Vietnam

ucanews - Mon, Oct 10th 2011

Catholic Church News Image of Thousands welcome Vatican envoyThe visiting non-resident pontifical representative for Vietnam has received a rapturous welcome in the south as he continues his working tour of the country.

“Catholics should have a clear conscience and live a life of love as a way to sow the seeds of the Good News in this country,” Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli told some 20,000 people who attended a special Mass at the Pilgrimage Center of Our Lady at Tan Hiep in Kien Giang province on Monday.

During his October 2-3 visit Archbishop Girelli urged parishioners to work for the common good and be in communion with their clergy to develop the local Church.

He also asked them to be devoted to the Virgin Mary and regularly recite the Rosary to protect them from temptation and bring about peace among their families, communities and the world.

The pontifical representative, who is based in Singapore, also urged local priests and Religious in Long Xuyen diocese to be workers in God’s vineyard and provide love and care for His sheep in Vietnam.

Father Joseph Nguyen Van Viet, pastor of the nearby Saint Joseph Church, told the Italian archbishop that local Catholics moved to the Tan Hiep area decades ago from the north.

Father Viet said the diocese runs 11 hostels for students, looks after people with physical disabilities and orphans, provides pre-school education, gives free basic education to poor people, runs training courses for Catholics and established five new parishes last year.

Archbishop Girelli also met local clergy, Religious and government officials, and celebrated Mass at the cathedral.

He also met Vietnamese bishops who are attending an October 3-7 meeting in Ho Chi Minh City.

Today he plans to meet leaders of other faiths at the Ho Chi Minh City Archbishop’s Residence before going on to visit other southern dioceses.

He returns to Singapore on October 15.

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