Editor’s Note: The following letter was written during Bishop Vann’s trip to Vietnam in late January.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
As I compose these words I am traveling from Hue, in central Vietnam, to the shrine of Our Lady of La Vang which is in the city of Quảng Tri, also in central Vietnam. I am here on a pilgrimage with Fr. Bao Thai from Christ Cathedral, Deacon Huy Nguyen also from Christ Cathedral and Chuong (Keith) Hoang who is from Los Angeles. Keith’s parents are from the Diocese of Bùi Chu, in Nam Dinh, Vietnam.
We have been able to visit the parish of Trieu Thong and its two missions Phuong Duc and Trieu Phuc. Christ Cathedral is journeying with the parish Trieu Thong and its two missions in planning for some better facilities for their youth. Our visit yesterday was a chance to celebrate Mass for the parishioners and spend time with them. My visit later on with retired Cardinal Peter Nguyen and Archbishop Thien was a moment of “Ecclesial Communion” and strengthened the bonds of faith and family which unite us. Tomorrow, we head to Da Nang and Friday to Sài Gòn, and then home on Monday.
These days here are also a reminder that the lights of the Christmas season, do not finish on Christmas Day, but continue into the Lunar New Year, until Feb. 2, the Presentation of the Lord; and, looking back we really have the first sounds and signs of Christmas in September, with the arrival of the “ber” months, where the Nativity celebrations, for the Filipinos began with hanging their Christmas decorations!
As I return to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang, I give thanks for your faith and generosity, and promise to pray for all of you and your loved ones.
Gratefully yours in the Lord,