Vietnam Christians said to focus on people and the environment


Bishop Dominic Nguyen Van Manh of Da Lat presided over celebrations for the feast of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Thousands of people attend an open-air mass at the compound of the Da Lat Pastoral Center on September 1. (Photo: UCA News)

Published: September 02, 2022 10:30 GMT

Updated: September 02, 2022 10:51 GMT

The feast of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta was celebrated with an open-air mass in the central highlands of Vietnam calling on Christians to care for people and the environment.

Bishop Dominic Nguyen Van Manh of Da Lat, who presided over the special celebration held inside the compound of the pastoral center standing on a local hill on September 1, was joined by 22 priests and about 1,000 Caritas workers from the parishes of the diocese covering the province of Lamdong.

Father John Bosco Hoang Van Chinh, director of Caritas in Da Lat, said they celebrated the holiday to mark the season of creation which begins with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and ends on the 4 October with the feast of Saint Francis. .

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Fr Chinh said the celebration was aimed at encouraging local Caritas workers, whose activities have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, to keep their spirits up.

Bishop Manh said the Season of Creation is a special time for all Christians to pray together and commit to caring for the earth, caring for the environment which is suffering from the disasters caused by the lifestyles of extreme consumption and collective selfishness.

“It is a matter of justice, not charity. Nature has its rights and when heavily exploited it cries out but does not cry,” the 67-year-old prelate said.

Noting that Mother Teresa brings love and care to people abandoned by society, Bishop Manh called on everyone to share their love with the poor and even with Mother Nature.

The Prelate called on the faithful to avoid single-use plastic and paper products, save water and electricity, and reuse instead of throwing things away.

He said that Christian spirituality teaches people to live a moderate and simple life, to be content with small things, to welcome every moment as a gift from God and to live it fully.

A Caritas worker said he was delighted to attend such an open-air mass and to feel close to the environment.

“You can only love and respect nature when you touch it yourself,” said a farmer who cultivates acres of coffee and white mulberry trees for a living in Lam Ha district.

Before the mass, the participants listened to presentations on the encyclical Laudato Si’ of Pope Francis and on the environmental protection activities carried out by local Caritas workers. They also attended cultural performances on the life and work of Saint Mother Teresa.

This is only the second time that Caritas in Da Lat has organized an outdoor mass. The first event was held in May to mark Laudato Si’ week, the seventh anniversary of Pope Francis’ historic encyclical on the care of creation.

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