Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Vu Trong Kim on December 24 visited Catholic dignitaries and followers at the Lang Son-Cao Bang Diocese in the northern province of Lang Son in the lead up to Christmas .

On behalf of the Party and State, Kim extended Christmas greetings to Catholics and wished them a merry festival.

He said he is pleased with the solidarity of the Catholic community, expressing his hope that dignitaries will continue to mobilise parishioners to follow the Party’s policies and the State’s law and join hands with people nationwide to develop the country.

He asked the bishops to continue promoting their role and better fulfill their tasks following Pope Benedict XVI’s teaching that a good Catholic must be a good citizen.

Hailing the diocese’s contributions, the official said that the parishioners have actively joined activities on health care, education, charity, poverty reduction and mass mobilisation while implementing major socio-economic development programmes.

At the meeting, Kim affirmed that the Party and State always respect and ensure the right to freedom of belief and religion as well as meet legitimate needs of religious organisations and followers so that they can make more contributions to the national development.

Diocesan Dang Duc Ngan thanked the Party, State and the VFF for caring the lives of Catholics, saying that parishioners in the Cao Bang- Lang Son Diocese will work closely with the local authorities to shape a life of comfort and happiness.

The same day, the authorities of the southern province of Soc Trang organised a number of delegations to visit and present gifts to Catholics at churches, parishes and outstanding catholic families in the locality.

In recent years, Catholics in Soc Trang have made positive contributions to the local socio-economic development and responded actively to patriotic emulation movements in the province.

According to Priest Tran Van Lien, Chairman of the provincial Committee for Solidarity of Catholics, the province has 49 churches and chapels and two orders with more than 62,000 parishioners.-VNA