Many churches in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City hold special masses on the third Sunday of April every year to celebrate Easter, a traditionally Christian holiday, with the participation of numerous foreigners and Catholics living in the city.
Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection after his crucifixion, is the one of the biggest annual celebrations for Catholics, who attend an Easter Mass held to mark the event, said Father Joseph Dao Nguyen Vu, the vicar for Pastoral Care of Foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese.
Currently, the city is home to an English Catholic community of 2,000 people, and Catholic communities of Korean, French and Japanese of 700, 100 and 30, respectively, according to incomplete statistics.
At the Easter Mass conducted at Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday morning, nearly 1,000 people from the English-speaking Catholic community, among others, attended the event.
|Father Joseph Dao Nguyen Vu is seen extending his wishes of peace to the Korean-speaking community at Huyen Si Church in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on April 17, 2022 in this image. Photo: Phuong Nam / Tuoi Tre
At noon the same day, the Huyen Si Church received about 300 people from the Korean-speaking Catholic community attending the mass there.
Other masses were conducted at the Ba Chuong Church, for the English-speaking Catholic community, and at Mai Khoi Church for the French-speaking Catholics.
The Pastoral Center of Saigon Archdiocese in District 1 conducted the masses for the English, Korean and Japanese Catholic communities.
During the pandemic, which hit Vietnam in early 2020, along with the closure of churches in Vietnam, many foreign parishioners went back to their homeland and those who stayed on in the country rarely attended religious services at churches, Father Vu said.
|This image shows parishioners at the front of Huyen Si Church in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on Easter Sunday, April 17, 2022. Photo: Phuong Nam / Tuoi Tre
Therefore, the regathering of Catholics, including foreigners, at this year's Easter Mass, which marks Jesus’ resurrection, was of great significance, the religious dignitary commented.
Ho Chi Minh City currently has 203 churches and other religious practice points.
Bishop Joseph Nguyen Nang, the archbishop of Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City, said that he wished everyone had an opportunity to realize the value of love and sharing devoted by Catholics to communities during the pandemic.
The archbishop also said he believed such love and sharing will be continued in the future.