Monday, March 28, 2016

SJS in Hanoi....

Just before midnight, after close to 24 hours of travel, Father Scorzello, Father O'Connor and I arrived at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi to the smiling faces of one of the best welcoming delegations ever!  We are here for the ordination of Fathers Tu, Hinh, Huy and Phu.  In the van on the way to the hotel, I said "Father Phu...that sounds so good!!"

The sun rises over beautiful Vietnam this morning and we entrust our little pilgrimage to Our Lady of La Vang, who appeared at a time when the scourge of religious persecution was at its height in eighteenth century central Vietnam.  The King had ordered the destruction of all Churches and the closing of Seminaries.  The faithful took refuge in the jungles and small villages (much like those who gathered at the Irish “Mass rocks” in Ireland).  One night, unexpectedly, a beautiful lady with a child in her arms appeared to them and told them to boil leaves from the surrounding trees to use as medicine.  She urged them to pray and assured them that her son would hear their prayers.

The joy-filled faith of the people of Vietnam, despite the enormous adversities which they have faced throughout the years, is an answer to those prayers.  Pray for our brothers about to be ordained and pray in thanksgiving to God for the strong faith which is the Church in Vietnam!