Continued rain would not hold off cheerful Christmas atmosphere that were prevailing over every corner in Hue city, central Thua Thien-Hue province for days.

Churches, hotels, and restaurants in the city were dazzled with evergreens and Santa Claus, reindeer and snowflake figures decorated outside, filling the air with excitement that often comes when Christmas Eve is just hours away.

Pre-Christmas visits to and gatherings with dignitaries and followers were held by municipal authorities, with the latest honouring those who stood out in 2014.

In the year, Catholic and Protestant communities have worked closely together with the administration and followers of other religions in programmes and campaigns that help all enjoy a better life.

Prominent campaigns were “Kinh Chua yeu nuoc” (Believe in your country as you believe in God), “All people unite to build a cultural life in residential areas” and “Day for the poor”.

The Catholic community of Phu Cam parish in Phuoc Vinh commune, which is home to Phu Cam Main Cathedral, the oldest one in the city, has been praised in those activities.

They have enthusiastically participated in reducing poverty, helping ensure social order and security, and encouraging education in the area.

In 2014, the parish presented 300 million VND (14,000 USD) worth of gifts to 125 students from disadvantaged background and awarded 37 million VND (1,730 USD) to 32 students who passed university entrance exams. Its programme “Rice jar of love” has been providing the poor and elderly followers with 10kg of rice each per month.

Meanwhile, the municipal Evangelical Church has offer financial assistance totalling 65 million VND (3,040 USD) to parish inpatients and granted 15 scholarships worth 33 million VND (1,540 USD) to students with outstanding academic performances.

Archbishop of Hue Diocese Le Van Hong pledged to encourage Catholic believers to work closely with the local authority and other residential communities in the national construction.-VNA