Thach Ha, a suburban commune of Ha Tinh City in the central province of Ha Tinh with 60 percent of its locals following Catholicism, is having a facelift thanks to the ongoing model “Safe, united and cultural parish”.

Five years since the model kick-started, local lives have improved both materially and spiritually.

Nguyen Huu Hung, Thach Ha communal Party Committee Secretary, said the model is designed to forge great national unity, maintain the good relations between the Catholics and the non-Catholics, develop good ethical values and ensure social security and order.

In collaboration with the Parish Pastoral Council and villages’ religious board, the communal authorities have actively worked to educate the locals about how the model will benefit them.

The villagers thus become closer and closer through weekly meetings where they pray together as well as talk about daily matters and settle any disputes. Social vices like gambling, drinking and domestic violence have dropped dramatically while the rate of school dropouts is falling.

Following the spirit of the saying “ The good leaves protect the worn-out leaves ”, Catholic followers have assisted each other in poverty reduction by actively raising funds for the poor.

Vo Ta Hoang, head of the police in Thach Ha commune, said the local socio-political situation is stable. Each Catholic fully grasps the teaching “A good Catholic is also a good citizen” and “Living out the Gospel in the midst of the Nation”.

The commune has also made it easier for poor households to access social funding so that they can rebuild and revamp their houses.

While deploying the national target programme on building new-style rural areas, the locality has devised multiple successful business models, such as fish farming in cages in Rao Cai River . As the locality has been chosen as a model in the campaign, it is working to fulfil set goals this year.

Catholic followers form the second largest religious community in Vietnam . Based on the number of followers, main religions in Vietnam include Buddhism, with Mahayana and Hinayana branches having a total of about 6.8 million followers, Catholicism (5.7 million), Hoa Hao sect (1.4 million), Cao Dai sect (808,000), Protestantism (734,000), Islam (73,000) and Balamon (56,000).-VNA