Hanoi, Vietnam (Tuesday, 01/20/2015, Gaudium Press) The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who is making a pastoral visit to Vietnam this week, is pleased to notice the practice of the Faith of the people In Vietnam. “I am very happy to be here with you and warmly thank the Episcopal Conference for this invitation to visit your country. On this occasion, I can see with my eyes the vitality of your community, the firm faith of the Vietnamese faithful” he says.
In his discourses, he spoke of the missionary activity of the Church, especially in relation to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.
“I greet you, dear Brothers, and I bring you the blessing of our Holy Father, Pope Francis. I am happy to be in this holy land, a land of a living and steadfast Church, where the blood of many martyrs has flowed heroically. Every year on the 24th of November – the day on which the Church celebrates the Memorial of the priest, St. Andrew Dung-Lac, and his 126 Companion Martyrs – I have the occasion to read again the beautiful letter of St. Paul Lê B?o T?nh, written to the seminarians from his prison cell. I am deeply moved by his love for the Lord Jesus and for the Church, as well as his pastoral concern for the seminarians entrusted to him. His example always prompts in me an ardent desire for the Lord and to serve His Church. As priests and those responsible for the Church in Vietnam, you are called to be “salt and light” (cf. Mt. 5:13-15) in this society. Imitate your heroic predecessor martyrs and be worthy to be their successors” the cardinal said.
“This year” he continued, “marks the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Conciliar Decree Ad Gentes [AG], concerning the missionary activity of the Church. There is says that missionary activity flows directly out of the nature itself of the Church. Through this missionary impulse, the first seeds of the Faith were brought here to Vietnam through the work of the Jesuits, the Fathers of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris, the Dominicans, the Augustinians, the Franciscans, and so many others. The tiny seeds have taken root in the culture and customs, such that today the Faith has become a part of the lives of many Vietnamese Christians. In 2010, the Church in Vietnam celebrated the Jubilee Year, commemorating the 350th Anniversary of the first two Apostolic Vicariates, and the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hierarchy. Today, we must remember that it has been 400 years since evangelization here first began. The initial creation of the Hierarchy marked the passage from “mission” status to the first configurations of a local Church, with the Bishops beginning to assume direct responsibility. Hence, every Bishop must continue to personally assume responsibility for evangelization, because “The mandate of Christ to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15) primarily and immediately concerns them (the Bishops), with Peter and under Peter” (AG, n. 38).
With Information from Vatican Radio