Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

Dong Nai (VNA) - The cheerful atmosphere of Christmas has filled the rural parishes in the southern province of Dong Nai, which is home to nearly one million Catholic followers.

All the roads and houses in Thong Nhat and Xuan Loc districts and Long Khanh town, which have the largest Christian communities in the province, have been cleaned up and adorned with Christmas decorations.

The three localities have been recognised as new rural areas, meeting all the 19 categories on road and waterway infrastructure, improving workforce in tandem with agriculture restructuring, cultural development, environment protection, and social security, order and safety.

With most local roads paved, new places of worship and facilities for cultural activities and new farming models, the living conditions of local followers have improved remarkable, Chairman of the Dong Nai Committee for Solidarity of Catholics Tran Xuan Thao said.

The priest also highlighted the contribution the local followers have made to the building of new style rural areas under various movements launched in the province, such as “Building cultural Catholic families” and “exemplary parish”.

Many Catholic followers donated their land to expand local roads, he said.

Xuan Dinh commune in Xuan Loc district, where 92 percent of the population are Catholic, was recognised as a modern rural area in 2011, the first commune in the country to earn the recognition.

According to local Catholic dignitaries, all the local roads have been paved in concrete and the communal church was upgraded as a result of both government investment and community’s contribution.

Local farmers have also adopted many profitable farming models, switching from low-yield coffee trees to fruit trees and mushroom growing.

Meanwhile, the district of Thong Nhat, with Catholic followers making up of 72 percent of the local population, has also just been recognised as a modern rural area.

Priest Tran Cong Hien from Vo Dong parish in Gia Kiem commune said there is no poor families among all 6,000 Catholic followers in the parish and all the children go to school.-VNA