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Evangelising through friendship

28 ottobre 2010

Vietnam diocese revisits evangelization methods

Published Date: October 27, 2010

By ucanews.com reporter, Tan Hiep

Developing friendships with people from all walks of life is the key to evangelization, a southern Vietnam church conference has heard.

The Oct. 23-24 evangelization conference at Tan Hiep parish in Tan Hiep district of Kien Giang province attracted 1,300 participants.

“Catholics [should] cooperate with people of goodwill to provide education, health care and other welfare services for underprivileged people,” Father Isidoro Bui Van Tang, head of the Committee for Evangelization of Long Xuyen diocese, told conference participants.

Catholics “also need to develop beautiful relationships with government authorities and followers of other faiths,” the Dong Hoa parish pastor added.

“To evangelize effectively today, parishes should be twinned with mission stations, Catholic families should support non-Catholic families and individuals should be friends with other people in their work environment,” Father Tang said.

He told ucanews.com that 1,200 people have been baptized since his diocese launched its Telling Jesus Stories parish program in 2006.

In the program, local Catholics share their faith practices and experience of meeting Jesus with other people.

According to Father Tang, the local Church evangelizes by building facilities, training missioners, founding Catholic associations and establishing mission stations.

Many local priests and Religious are sent to work in foreign countries. The local Church also provides basic education and health care for poor people and builds bridges over rivers in remote areas, Father Tang explained.

He said that the recent conference aimed to revisit the evangelization activities of the diocese over the past 50 years.

It also aimed to raise awareness of evangelization as a task for all Catholics, not just clergy and Religious.

Forty thousand people attended a special conference closing Mass concelebrated by Bishop Joseph Tran Xuan Tieu of Long Xuyen and 150 local priests. Forty-four people were baptized during the service.

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