Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will make a pastoral visit to Vietnam today.
The Italian prelate, who accompanied the Holy Father in his Apostolic Journey to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, will attend meetings with Bishops, priests, religious men and women, seminarians and Vietnamese faithful.
According to Fides News Agency, Cardinal Filoni will meet with the Conference of Bishops, priests and representatives of the province of Hanoi on January 20th at a Mass in the Cathedral. The following day, he will visit a parish in the diocese of Hung Hoa which is “characterized by the presence of ethnic minorities.”
On January 22nd, the Cardinal will visit the Marian Shrine of La Vang. In 1798, Emperor Canh Thinh restricted the practice of Catholicism, thus beginning a persecution. According to tradition, many sought refuge in the rain forest in La Vang, gathering at the foot of the tree to pray the rosary. The Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, who comforted them and told them to boil leaves from nearby trees to heal those who became ill.
Although there is no written documentation of the apparitions, St. John Paul II emphasized the importance of Our Lady of La Vang and the rebuilding of Her Shrine.In his visit, Cardinal Filoni will entrust the evangelization of Vietnam and the world to the Blessed Mother.
The highlight of the trip will be Cardinal Filoni’s visit to the parish of Hoi An, where Christian missionaries first evangelized in Vietnam 400 years ago. The Cardinal will celebrate both the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Da Nang and the 400th anniversary of the evangelization of Vietnam. He will also administer the sacraments of Christian Initiation to 50 adult catechumens.
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples will meet with clergy and lay people in Saigon before returning to Rome on January 25th.