President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan extended his greetings to Catholic dignitaries in the central province of Thanh Hoa on February 5 ahead of the upcoming traditional Lunar New Year (Tet).

While meeting with local Catholics at the Thanh Hoa bishop’s palace, Nhan acknowledged their significant contributions to the cause of national independence and freedom as well as their achievements in implementing the Party and State’s guidelines, policies, and laws.

Even in times of peace, Catholics have actively participated in patriotic displays, charitable activities, maintaining social order and security, modernising rural areas, and strengthening national unity, he said.

The VFF leader said he hopes Catholic followers will take a more active role in provincial socio-economic development and building cultural life in residential areas.

Bishop Nguyen Chi Linh pledged to work regularly with local authorities to care for parishioners and augment their sense of civic responsibility, while encouraging them to join in VFF activities and develop socio-economic affairs.

The same day, Nhan visited and presented gifts to a dozen of poor Catholic families at the Dien Ho, Nga Dien and Nga Son parishes.

Catholicism constitutes the second largest religious community in Vietnam, behind Buddhism (over 12 million), with 5.7 million followers, followed by Hoa Hao (1.4 million), Cao Dai (808,000), Protestantism (734,000), Islam (73,000), and Brahmanism (56,000).-VNA