(26 Nov 09 - RV) On Thursday the Vatican published Pope Benedict’s message to the
Church in Vietnam to mark the 350th anniversary of Catholicism in the country.
Jubilee for the Church in Vietnam is a time of reconciliation, of deepening of ecclesial
communion and of building "a just and fair society in conformity with the principal
of solidarity, through genuine dialogue, mutual respect and healthy collaboration".
That is the hope that Pope Benedict XVI expresses in his message addressed to the
President of the Vietnam Bishops' Conference, Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon .
message, released Thursday by the Vatican was read by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray Monday
evening to a sea of over 100 thousand Vietnamese faithful who held a candlelit procession
around the town of So Kien, the birth place of the Vietnamese church.
the letter written in French the Pope stresses the choice made by the Vietnamese episcopate
to begin the jubilee year on November 24th, the feast of the 117 martyr saints of
that nation. "The memory of their noble testimony - writes the Pope - will help the
whole people of God in Vietnam to act out His charity, to increase His hope and strengthen
His faith which, at times, everyday puts to the test."
"For the opening
of your celebration - continues the message - you have chosen So Kien, in the Archdiocese
of Hanoi, a symbolic place that speaks particularly to your hearts. It was the first
seat of the Apostolic Vicariate of Vietnam and still retains vestiges of your precious
holy martyrs and also of their noble relics. In this jubilee year may this place that
is so dear to the heart be a place of profound evangelization that will bring the
Gospel values of charity, truth, justice and honesty to all of Vietnamese society.
"The jubilee - continues the pope - is a time of grace for reconciliation
with God and neighbour. To this end, we must recognize the wrongs of the past and
present committed against our brothers in faith and against fellow compatriots and
ask forgiveness. At the same time, we must also make the decision to deepen and enrich
ecclesial communion and to build a just society and fair society in conformity with
the principal of solidarity through genuine dialogue, mutual respect and healthy collaboration.
The Jubilee - concludes the message – is also a special time to renew the proclamation
of the Gospel to fellow citizens and to increasingly become a Church that is communion