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Bishop Hoang invites future priests to work in his Hung Hoa ‘mission diocese’
Students from Bui Chu Major Seminary in Vietnam listen to a talk from Bishop Dominic Hoang Minh Tien of Hung Hoa on May 11. (Photo: Bui Chu Diocese)
The newly ordained bishop of Vietnam’s largest Catholic diocese has paid a visit to a major seminary and urged the future priests to be missionaries to preach the Good News to cultures and ethnicities at home and abroad.
Bishop Dominic Hoang Minh Tien of Hung Hoa Diocese visited Bui Chu Major Seminary in neighboring Bui Chu Diocese in northern Vietnam and had exchanges with teachers and students on May 11, reports the official website of Bui Chu Diocese.
This was the 53-year-old bishop’s first visit to the formation house following his ordination as bishop of Hung Hoa on Feb. 14.
Hung Hoa Diocese, bordering China and Laos, is Vietnam’s largest Catholic diocese in terms of area. It covers about 48,072 square kilometers and includes the whole provinces of Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Phu Tho and Son La, as well as parts of Ha Giang, Ha Tay, Hoa Binh and Tuyen Quang provinces. It is a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Hanoi, which covers the national capital.
During his visit, Bishop Hoang presented an overview of his diocese and how it badly needs local missionary priests to serve such a large geographical territory.
Hung Hoa has about 265,000 Catholics including some 20,000 from ethnic minority groups who are served by 186 priests and deacons, the prelate said. The diocesan area is home to some 34 ethnic groups such as Hmong, Tay, Muong, San Chi, Thai and Dao.
Seminarians said the visit and words of the bishop motivated them and they are ready to go and serve in “the peripheries” outside the diocese
“Our diocese has all the characteristics of a missionary diocese, so I call upon you to serve in Hung Hoa Diocese as missionaries when you become priests,” Bishop Hoang said.
The prelate also guided seminarians on how they can become “missionary disciples” at home and abroad.
Father Dominic Tran Ngoc Dang, deputy rector of the seminary, thanked the bishop for visiting the seminary and said the institute has been running a pastoral program for seminarians for missionary training in their final year.
As part of the program, seminarians serve in Hung Hoa Diocese for two months every summer, the priest said.
Seminarians said the visit and words of the bishop motivated them and they are ready to go and serve in “the peripheries” outside the diocese.
The Vatican established Hung Hoa Diocese on April 15, 1895. The growth of Catholicism in the diocese as in most parts of Vietnam is credited to French missionaries from the Paris Foreign Missions Society (MEP).
MEP Bishop Paul Marie Raymond Loc, the first bishop of the diocese, was ordained on Oct. 15, 1895. Bishop Paul Nguyen Huy Quang was the first Vietnamese bishop of the diocese and served from 1960 until his death in 1985.
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