The Church of Vietnam supports the cause of the holiness of the first bishop

The population is invited to pray to Bishop Pierre Lambert de la Motte and to bear witness to his reputation for holiness

Bishop Matthew Nguyen Van Khoi addresses the congregation at the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary in Qui Nhon on September 14. (Photo provided)

Posted: September 16, 2022 05:44 GMT

Updated: September 16, 2022 at 06:01 GMT

Catholics in a central diocese were called to honor and seek the intercessory power of their first bishop as a means of advancing his cause for canonization.

On September 14, Bishop Matthew Nguyen Van Khoi of Qui Nhon and Bishop Joseph Do Manh Hung of Phan Thiet moved the relics of the late French Bishop Pierre Lambert de la Motte (1624-1679) from the mother house of the Qui Nhon congregation Lovers of the Holy Cross. at the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary in Qui Nhon, the capital of Binh Dinh province.

Around 50 priests joined the event which was attended by thousands of people, including nuns and members of the Association of Lovers of the Holy Cross for lay people in colorful traditional attire. They honored the relics contained in one of the two urns, which were donated by Cardinal Archbishop Michael Michai Kitbunchu of Bangkok in 2003.

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The urn was placed in front of a large image of the late bishop which was decorated with flowers.

The participants recited the prayers of Bishop de la Motte and some priests, religious and lay people offered incense in front of his photo.

Bishop Khoi said the relics are on public display at the cathedral so that many people from the diocese and beyond can easily visit, honor, pray and appeal to the first bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Dang Trong (Cochinchina), which is now the Diocese of Qui Nhon.

“The local population owes a deep debt of gratitude to Bishop de la Motte”

“The more people hold him in great respect and if their prayers are answered, the more Bishop Lambert’s reputation for holiness will be established, which will facilitate the process of his beatification and canonization,” the 71-year-old prelate said.

He said the display of relics is a response to regulations from the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, which last year asked local bishops to verify whether the candidate enjoys a genuine and widespread reputation for holiness among a large part of the people of God. Reputation should be spontaneous and not artificially produced.

Bishop Khoi called on people to come and pray to Bishop de la Motte and bear witness to his reputation for holiness. Those who suffer from incurable diseases and who recover thanks to his power of intercession must report their case to the local Church.

He said the local people owe deep gratitude to Bishop de la Motte for laying a solid foundation for the local clergy, religious and catechists. He promoted harmony and unity among the local people and won the respect of government authorities and followers of other religions.

The French bishop in the service of the vicariate from 1659 to 1679 ordained Father Joseph Trang, the first native priest of the province of Quang Ngai, now under the diocese of Qui Nhon, in 1668 in Ayutthaya in Thailand. Three years later, he founded the congregation of the Lovers of the Holy Cross in the province, and Father Trang’s sister was appointed first superior of the congregation.

Despite religious persecution in Vietnam, Bishop de la Motte made pastoral visits to certain places in the provinces of Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai from 1671 to 1676. He administered Confirmation to 10,000 inhabitants of the region and baptized many of them. ‘others. The vicariate then housed 60,000 Catholics, including a hundred martyrs.

In 2021, Vietnam’s 27 dioceses had 11,219 members from 30 Lovers of the Holy Cross congregations serving at home and abroad. It also had 15,000 lay members of the Association of Lovers of the Holy Cross.

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Jerry B. Hatch