5 years of the patriotic movement among Catholics in Ben Tre

On July 10,
2007, Ben Tre's Catholic Unity Committee held a summation of 5 years between
2002 and 2007 of the patriotic movement among Catholics in the province. The
conference had the presence of Mr Huynh Thanh Hieu, Chief of the Provincial
People's Committee Secretariat; Mr Ho Vinh Sang, Chairman of the Provincial
Vietnamese National Front Committee; Colonel Vo Hong Quang, Commander-in-Chief
of the Provincial Military Headquarters; and other representatives of the
Religion Committee and the Provincial Police.

As reported,
Ben Tre has about 72,000 Catholic Church followers living and practicing in 83
parishes. Among them are 43 parish priests, 160 clerks, and 700 religious

In the past 5
years, with the help of local authorities, the National Front Committee of all
levels, and the Provincial and District Catholic Unity Committee, Ben Tre
Catholic Church launched and maintained a patriotic movement among its
parishioners. Catholics in Ben Tre have taken part in the movement very
enthusiastically. Their activities included learning the Communist Party policy
on belief and religion, the Government law and legal system, the State policy of
the great national unity, policy on religion and belief, charitable and
humanitarian works, works of social welfare, community healthcare and education,
and promoting cultural life.

The gospel
learning and practicing, the daily service of the church, Catholic practicing
and observing, and priestly tasks have been kept in a regular manner, so that
parishioners may be able to settle down for economic development, promoting a
peaceful and stable life, and thus fulfilling their own responsibility as a
member of the community. Over the past 5 years, 16 churches, 14 monuments and
statues, 52 chapels, monasteries, and nunneries were built or renovated. All are
evidence of a good policy on religion and belief pursued by Ben Tre leadership.

There have
been tremendous reforms in the way and content of working of the Catholic Unity
Committee, which has fostered better and closer ties with various organizations,
governing departments and levels of authorities.

Over the past
5 years, the Catholic Church has raised donations of more than VND 23 billion
and lots of foodstuffs, clothes, learning instruments, medicines, working tools,
bicyles, wheelchairs for the disabled, and more than 6,200 workdays dedicated to
social and humanitarian works. Most parishioners in the province dedicate their
best to bulding the cultural life in the community. 90% of them have been
awarded with “Cultural Family” certificates, and more than 50% churches awarded
with “Civilized Worshiping Unit” title.

In the
summation of the 5-year movement, the People's Committee of Ben Tre Province
awarded certificates of merit and cash to 7 teams and 17 individuals for their
excellent achievements in the patriotic movement between 2002 and 2007. Besides,
the Catholic Unity Committee also unanimously approved the nomination of Priest
Nguyen Van Quang and Priest Khong Duc Y to join the national Catholic Unity
Committee of Viet Nam. In addition, another 6 priests were also appointed to
attend the national congress of patriotic Catholics in the capital of Ha Noi in
December this year.

Translated by

An Chau