Vietnamese Catholics celebrate the anniversary of the death of a French missionary

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Vietnamese Catholics in a northern parish expressed their filial affection to a French bishop who laid a solid foundation for the local Church.

Father Peter Pham Thanh Binh and four other priests concelebrated a special mass to commemorate the 78th anniversary of the death of Bishop Paul Ramond, member of the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris (MEP) who was the first prelate of the diocese of Hung Hoa .

The celebration attended by many local Catholics and religious took place on January 6 at Sapa Church in Sapa Town, Lao Cai Province.

Father Binh said the event was a good opportunity for Catholics to show their deep gratitude, respect and filial affection while praying for Bishop Ramond, who laid a solid foundation for the future development of the greater diocese of Vietnam in terms of territory.

The priest said that the local people appreciated the legacy of faith, hope and love of the missionary who was an exemplary, benevolent and virtuous bishop who dedicated his life to serving God and the local people, especially the groups ethnic. The prelate adopted the Vietnamese name Loc, meaning good fortune, as his great dedication to the local Church.

“Bishop Loc worked as a devoted missionary like Saint Paul, as a witness of prayer and ardent love for the Lord like Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. He loved Mother Mary and diligently recited the Rosary like Saint Alphonsus and immersed himself in prayer before the Eucharist like Saint Benedict ”, declared the parish priest of the church of Sapa.

Catholics had to move to other places to avoid persecution and wars that ruined the church facilities

The head of the Ministerial Committee for Ethnic Minorities of the Diocese of Hung Hoa said local Catholics did not have resident priests for nearly 60 years after the beheading of Member of the European Parliament Father Jean Pierre Idiart-Alhor on 18 May 1948, while preparing to celebrate mass.

Catholics had to move to other places to avoid persecution and wars that ruined the church facilities.

Father Binh, who was assigned to the parish in 2006, said local people began to commemorate the anniversaries of the deaths of Bishop Ramond and Father Alhor in 2010 after they unearthed their graves for a proper reburial behind. the church.

The 50-year-old priest said he was following the lead of foreign missionaries by evangelizing and re-evangelizing the ethnic Hmong people and restoring the facilities built by the missionaries. He repaired the stone church built in 1026 and built a pastoral center and a dozen churches and chapels in Hmong villages.

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He said some 3,000 people have joined the 120-year-old parish in the past 15 years.

Born in 1855 in the diocese of Rodez in France, Bishop Ramond began to work in Vietnam in 1881 and became the first apostolic vicar of the apostolic prefecture of Hung Hoa in 1895. He sent many MEPs to work and create positions mission among the ethnic groups of the northwestern provinces. , established new parishes and missions for ethnic groups in remote areas, trained indigenous clergy and strengthened the faith life of local Catholics.

The bishop, who was renowned for his gentleness, humility and mastery of the Hmong language, retired in 1938 and died on January 6, 1944 in the church in Sapa.

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