Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – President Trần Đại Quang extended Christmas greetings to Catholic dignitaries and followers yesterday.
Visiting the Catholic Church under the Archdiocese (Metropolitan) of HCM City, he reiterated the consistent policy of the Party and State to respect and ensure the legitimate right to freedom of belief and freedom of religion.
The Law on Belief and Religion adopted by the 14th National Assembly on November 18, 2016 institutionalised the Party’s policy and viewpoints on belief and religion, and realised the spirit and content of the 2013 Constitution 2013 on the right to freedom of belief and religion, he said.
The President praised the participation of religious communities, Catholic followers in particular, in patriotic emulation movements, promoting national unity and contributing to the cause of national construction and defence.
There are more and more outstanding examples in Catholic parishes who have made great contributions to charity, poverty reduction and socio-economic development programmes, he said.
He noted that in the election of deputies to the 14th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels for the 2016-2021 tenure, many Catholic dignitaries and followers were chosen. This demonstrates that the Việt Nam Catholic Church is an integral part of the nation, he said.
He said people nationwide were making every effort to promote national unity, accelerate the country’s reform process, boost rapid and sustainable economic development and turn the country into a modern, industrial nation, he said, adding that this cause requires greater contributions by people from all walks of life, including Catholics.
The State leader urged Catholic dignitaries and followers to continue upholding their patriotic tradition and increase their contribution to building a strong, democratic, fair and civilised country.
Christmas greetings in Hà Nội
Meanwhile, Hoàng Trung Hải, Hà Nội Party Committee Secretary, yesterday called on Catholic dignitaries at the Hà Nội Archbishop’s Office.
He offered his Christmas greetings to Hà Nội Archbishop Phero Nguyễn Văn Nhơn, other Catholic dignitaries and followers in Hà Nội.
Hai spoke highly of the Catholic community’s contributions to the city’s socio-economic development.
He expressed his hope that the Archbishop and all local parishioners will continue to build national solidarity and contribute to the building of a prosperous, developed capital city.
Archbishop Phero Nguyễn Văn Nhơn said every diocese and follower continuously makes efforts to contribute to the city’s development and to protecting its environment.
Hải also praised social worker Nguyễn Thị Hằng, 52, for her outstanding work.
On December 22 and 23, authorities in Bình Thuận Province also extended Christmas wishes to local Catholic and Protestant dignitaries and followers on the occasion of Christmas.
Local authorities at all levels have always taken care of the legitimate requests of followers and promoted unity between religious and non-religious communities , they said.
Eager to celebrate
In the Red River Delta province of Ninh Bình, parishioners have been eagerly preparing for Christmas by practicing art performances and decorating churches.
The Phát Diệm Church in Phát Diệm town of Kim Sơn District is gaily decorated with lights and nativity scenes.
Mai Văn Quý, an official with the Phát Diệm Diocese, said they have always encouraged followers to actively join patriotic emulation movements and contribute to local poverty alleviation efforts.
Vũ Tiến Minh, a resident of Phát Diệm town, said local parishioners were excited about celebrating Christmas. They have decorated the church and their houses in preparation, he said.
The Phát Diệm Diocese has nearly 5,000 parishioners. The Phát Diệm Church attracts thousands of local residents and tourists during this festival.— VNS