Vietnam Bishops Urge Commitment to Evangelization

HANOI, Vietnam, NOV. 6, 2003 (ZENIT.orgFides).- The bishops of Vietnam at their annual assembly made an appeal to renew the Church’s commitment to evangelization in the Asian country.

The appeal is made in a pastoral letter issued when the bishops ended their meeting last month in the Bai Dau Marian Shrine, 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) south of Hanoi.

The letter presents the local Church with a program for mission in the coming years involving clergy, religious, seminarians and laity.

The bishops offer a few practical indications: prayer; a life of witness; interreligious dialogue; the establishment of special evangelization commission in every diocese; and works of charity and human development.

According to the Statistical Yearbook of the Catholic Church, Catholics comprise 6.8% of Vietnam’s 81 million inhabitants. The country has 37 bishops, 2,501 priests, 10 permanent deacons, 1,487 non-ordained religious, 9,548 women religious, and 49,862 catechists.