(UCAN News) An archdiocese in central Vietnam has urged local Catholics to follow their ancestors to spread Catholicism and build facilities in areas that were destroyed by wars

Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh presided at a special Mass concluding the jubilee year of the 170th anniversary of Hue Archdiocese’s foundation on Oct. 7 at Phu Cam Cathedral in Hue city. The ceremony was concelebrated by 160 priests and attended by 1,000 people.

Archbishop Linh said the jubilee year had brought all people together to strengthen their faith and look after victims of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

He said they must thank God that local young generations bravely pursue priestly vocations to proclaim the Good News, following in their ancestors’ footsteps.

During the Mass, he ordained 10 priests and one Benedictine.

Emeritus Archbishop Francis Xavier Le Van Hong said the jubilee year conclusion does not mean all their efforts end but is an important starting point for them to further their faith and holiness and especially promote evangelization work.

Looking back at the past 170 years, Archbishop Hong said, the Vietnam Church suffered severe pain, challenges and persecution. Since its establishment in 1850, some 10,000 local Catholics and foreign missionaries were killed for their loyalty to the Church and Jesus’ love. Many churches, convents and other church facilities were destroyed.

He said the local Church made rapid developments in the early 20th century. Many convents and schools were restored. The Church served 78,500 Catholics when it marked the 100th anniversary of its foundation in 1950.

Today the local Church serves 65,000 people and has seen a significant increase in the number of young priests and religious.

Tej Francis

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