Msgr. Nguyễn Thái Hợp, first Bishop of Ha Tĩnh

On 22 December 2018, we celebrated the birth of the 1,070th Missio-supported diocese. His Holiness Pope Francis created the new diocese of Ha Tĩnh in Vietnam and appointed Msgr. Nguyễn Thái Hợp as the first Bishop.

Ha Tĩnh diocese is in the northern region of the country, and sits across two provinces, Ha Tĩnh and Quảng Bình. The new diocese is dedicated to Mary Most Holy, Mother of God.

Various religious communities live in this area including animists, Buddhists, Protestants and Catholics.

Out of a population of more than two million, there are about 204,000 Catholics, with 96 parishes and 93 priests, 19 men religious, 188 women religious and 56 seminarians.

Living the Gospel in the heart of the nation

The Church in Vietnam marked the country’s 27th diocese by renewing its response to Pope Francis’s call to “live the Gospel in the heart of the nation”.

This is one of the poorest areas of the country and many Catholics in this diocese are poor. But despite this, the church is very active and enthusiastic. The clergy, religious and lay members all take an active role in the Bishop’s Justice and Peace Commission initiatives. They carry out missionary work and charitable activities. These include helping the survivors of natural disasters, helping poor and disabled people and working with young people and children.

One parish for example, bought 3,000 notebooks for students, and handed out blankets and mosquito nets to the most disadvantaged people.

We celebrate the birth of the new diocese and pray that God will guide its mission and journey.

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Featured image via screengrab/Youtube