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     Home > Charity and Solidarity  >  2013-12-24 16:17:14
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For Christmas Vietnam's Catholics organise pastoral and social activities for the poor and needy



Dec. 24, 2013: Caritas and other Catholic groups in the Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam have sponsored a number of charitable activities for Christmas. Their activities are aimed at people with "special" needs, namely kids and adults who have disabilities, or health problems, or for families in difficulty. Open to the contribution of non-Catholics, these initiatives are characterised by enthusiasm and community participation. One of activities in favour of the less fortunate included a trip to the San Ben leper colony organised by the Caritas branch in Xóm Chieu in cooperation with the Association of Catholic Mothers and parishioners in Tac Roi. In Vietnam, some 70,000 people suffer from leprosy or Hansen's disease and at present only a small fraction receive proper medical care. To fill the gap, various religious congregations and groups of nuns help patients in a number of facilities. One of them is the San Ben colony. Set up more than 50 years ago by French Sisters of Charity in cooperation with Vietnamese nuns, this hospital now has six medical wards, plus one for people with mental health problems. Over the years, the nuns have treated 395 patients as well as 120 children from families in difficulty who now attend school regularly. Caritas volunteers in Vuon Xoai have instead brought together Catholic and non-Catholic doctors and nurses to provide free medical treatment to the poor and people in difficulty, including the elderly, disabled and abandoned children. In preparation for the birth of Jesus, the Tân Đinh Parish also organised retreats for children, youth and parents, as well as moments of Eucharistic adoration with parishioners devoting part of their time to help those in need without distinction of religion.
Currently, Vietnam has a population of about 87 million people. Buddhists are 48 per cent, slightly more than 7 per cent are Catholic, and approximately 20 per cent are atheist. Although a minority Christians are particularly active in education, health and social affairs.
Source: AsiaNews




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