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Old Saigon Echo website
from 2008 - 2012
Director: Bai An Tran, Ph.D.


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Thousands of Catholics protest at Saigon Redemptorist Monastery

The protest at Saigon Redemptorist Monastery is one of the largest protests since the communists came to power in 1975.  

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Candlelight vigil in Saigon

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A play performed by Catholic unversity students

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Candlelight vigil in Hanoi

On Sunday evening Nov. 30, more than 5,000 Catholics in Saigon joined in a Candlelight Vigil at Saigon Redemptorist Monastery to protest the up-coming trial in Hanoi organized by authorities against 8 Catholic parishioners of Thai Ha who were charged wrongly with “damaging state property and disorderly conduct in public.”

160 priests from various religious orders in Saigon and nearby provinces concelebrated Mass to pray for the Church in Vietnam and in particular for the eight faithful in Hanoi who are on trial.

Fr. Michael Nguyen Huu Phu, the Superior of Saigon Redemptorist Monastery, told the congregation that “at the former nunciature in Hanoi and at Thai Ha parish, the authorities buried Jesus Christ, justice and truth. But from there, Jesus Christ will rise, and justice and truth will be resurrected.”

The congregation saw on a big screen the pictures of the eight parishioners to be tried in Hanoi, and was briefed on difficulties that they are facing, especially the denial of access to lawyers.

On Saturday, thousands of Catholic university students in Hanoi gathered in another Candlelight Vigil under a strict monitor of hundreds of police who were sent to the site to take photos and film with video cameras in an obvious intimidation tactic. During the vigil, students performed a play depicting the sufferance of martyrs in the previous century when authorities tried to destroy Catholicism in Vietnam.

With the up-coming trial has been increasingly taking on political connotations, Fr Vincent Nguyen Trung Thanh, the provincial superior of the Redemptorists in Vietnam, has sent a letter to Redemptorists in Vietnam asking them to pray intensively for the eight parishioners of Thai Ha.

“More than anyone, we know well that they are innocent, not only innocent according to their own conscience, but also according to the law. However, they are still charged and prosecuted,” he wrote.

The provincial superior praised the parishioners who chose to follow their Master who “more than 2,000 years ago was prosecuted and killed for his insistency on defending for the truth.”

Asking the Redemptorist communities in Vietnam to pray for the eight parishioners, Fr Vincent Nguyen emphasized that “The Beatitudes is an invitation for us and these faithful to accept adversities and tragedies, and to put our trust in God who will transform our sufferings into benefits for those who love Him.”

VietCatholic News (30 Nov 2008 20:10)

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