Dignitaries and followers of the Hoa Hao Buddhist sect gathered at An Hoa pagoda in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on June 25 to celebrate the sect’s 74th founding anniversary.

Attending the ceremony were representatives from the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee’s Commission for Mass Mobilisation and the Southwestern Region Steering Committee.

Participants at the event heard the greeting letter of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee, the speech of Cardinal Duc Huynh on the need for the establishment of the sect and a report on its 2012 performance.

Home to more than 800,000 followers, An Giang province is regarded as the Holy Land of the sect, which has seen more than 2 million followers in many provinces and cities nationwide.

Over the past years, under the motto of “For the dharma, for the nation”, Hoa Hao sect has mobilised followers to practise thrift and increase social and charity activities in combination with building new-style rural areas and joining national construction and defence.

Between May 18, 2012-2013 (lunar calendar), the sect’s followers donated over 200 billion VND (9.6 million USD) to build houses, upgrade rural bridges and roads, provide free eye surgery for the poor and grant scholarships to needy students.

Addressing the ceremony, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front’s An Giang chapter Huynh Cong Muoc praised the solidarity and contributions of the Hoa Hao followers to the nation.

He expressed his hope that in the coming time, the sect’s Executive Committee and its chapters will continue upholding the tradition of solidarity to join the Party, State and other religions in developing the country.-VNA