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Thursday, December 8, 2016
Vietnam: two ordained after 40-year wait
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 Two men who entered a seminary more than 40 years ago, were finally ordained in Vietnam last week. Michel Hoang Minh Hung and Joseph Nguyen Van Hien, who began their training in 1964 and 1967, were ordained last Wednesday for the southern Diocese of Phan Thiet. When the Communists took over South Vietnam in 1975, all the seminaries were shut down and student priests were 're-educated' often being made to take up hard manual work. Vatican Radio described the two ordinations as "a step forward for the improvement of relations between the Catholic Church and the Vietnamese government." Although the Holy See and Vietnam do not have diplomatic relations they have been drawing together for some time. When Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples visited Viet Nam last December, he ordained 57 priests, visited three ecclesiastical regions, held meetings with some bishops, and presided over the ceremony for the establishment of the new Diocese of Ba Ria, with the installation of its first bishop, Monsignor Thomas Nguyn Van Trm. The Diocese of Phan Thiet has a population of one million, including 150,000 Catholics. With the ordination of Fr Michel and Fr Joseph it now has 82 priests. About six million of Vietnam's 83 million inhabitants are Catholic.
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