For Hai, a Vietnamese Buddhist, the Jubilee of Mercy

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Hai, a Buddhist immigrant living in Tân Bình District (Ho Chi Minh City), saw the first positive results of the opening of the Jubilee of Mercy in Vietnam.

"My family of six lives in Bến Tre Province where we sell apricot trees for Lunar New Year (2016),” he said. “Now my young brother and sister have reached the last stage of cancer.”

“Some parishioners in Cái Mơn visited us and showed us moral support. We were very impressed by their attitude. Now we hung the image of the Divine Mercy on our family’s altar. This picture is very sacred. We are overcoming the fear of death to live in peace the remaining days. We love and believe in this picture."

All 26 of Vietnam’s dioceses inaugurated the Holy Year on Sunday. In Ho Chi Minh City, Archbishop Bùi Văn Đọc opened the Holy Door in Notre-Dame Cathedral (pictured), along with 80 priests and more than 2,000 faithful.

"With this Jubilee of Mercy,” said the prelate, “we get closer to the poor and those who suffer. We all have to live in a peaceful manner, give room to others, and perform works of charity."

The faithful recited the rosary to the Virgin Mary on the day of the Immaculate Conception.

Fr Dominique, vicar of Tân Việt Parish, reminded the faithful that "the Holy Father invited us to look to the Lady of the Immaculate Conception, to whom God’s mercy was first revealed.”

“Mary,” he added, “was invited to participate in God’s redemptive plan. This is what we must do this year, namely contemplate God’s mercy and pray to Mary. We can meet God in our hearts only if we live a certain way with other people."

"I think that there are many conflicting views in Vietnam today, and we see indifference every day in society,” said Joseph, a parishioner and member of the pastoral commission in Tân Việt, who spoke with AsiaNews.

To overcome such indifference, “every family must experience love within. It must bear witness to the Gospel every day, and help children who are in difficult circumstances."

Members of other religions appreciated the opening of the Jubilee in Vietnam. "My relatives are still all Buddhists, but they love the image of the Divine Mercy and the Holy Year,” said Theresa, a 50-year-old woman. “As for myself, I think that the love of Jesus is the demonstration of the Father's mercy."

Nguyen Hung