|Residents celebrate Christmas at Ha Noi's Ham Long Church. Christmas celebrations are becoming increasingly popular among Vietnamese people from all walks of life, including those belonging to the Christian faith as well as non-Christians. — VNS Photo Viet Thanh
HA NOI — Christmas celebrations have taken place around the nation engaging both those people belonging to the Christian faith and non-religious communities.
The country's high-ranking leaders joined in celebrations including Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan who wished Catholics well for the festive season and hoped they could overcome all difficulties to join compatriots of other faiths to carry out the Party's policies and State laws in consolidating national unity and making more contributions to national development.
Doan talked with Catholic dignitaries and people at the Phat Diem diocese in Kim Son District, northern Ninh Binh Province yesterday.
She presented flowers to Bishop Joseph Nguyen Nang, gifts to ten outstanding Catholic households and extended best wishes to priests, clergymen and parishioners, wishing them peace for the season.
"Ninh Binh Province's recent achievements also include contributions made by the Catholics, particularly those living in Kim Son District," she stressed.
The district has been noted as a area leading movements to donate corneas during patriotic campaigns and nearly 5,500 Catholic followers have registered to make donations when they die, with 80 people having already done so, improving restoring eyesight for 168 patients.
Apart from improving sight, these actions have help implement the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI that "good Catholics are also good citizens," Doan stressed.
Bishop Joseph Nguyen Nang thanked Party and State leaders for their festival well wishes and promised to continue supporting dignitaries, clergymen and Catholic followers to "be good in both life and religion" and "live the Gospel in the heart of the nation."
Also yesterday Deputy Secretary of HCM City's Party Committee Nguyen Van Dua offered season's greetings to the city's Catholic and Protestant dignitaries and followers.
He said the efforts of local authorities, businesses and people, including Catholic and Protestant communities, had helped the city's economy overcome difficulties and reach socio-economic targets.
He said he also hoped these communities would get behind movements to improve the city.
Vice President and Secretary General of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Vu Trong Kim visited Hai Phong diocese, and offered well-wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
In southern An Giang Province, Catholics in Cho Moi District had a bumper autumn-winter rice harvest which fetched good prices and are looking forward to Christmas.
Some have said the restructuring in agriculture practices had brought economic growth. Young maize sold to vegetable factories and cow rearing had enabled many households to earn up to VND100 million per year, and had adorned their houses with Christmas decorations.
Members of Chau Thanh District and An Chau township's parishes had also enjoyed increased income due to a successful harvests and saw Christmas as a time to encourage communities to promote the application of new science and technology to further improve agriculture in the region.
In recent days, province leaders throughout the country, including central Nghe An province, southern Can Tho City, southern Vinh Long Province had visited Catholic monasteries and dioceses to present gifts and extend their best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. — VNS