Local government forces
attacked and ransacked St Gerard chapel for the second time in Hanoi's Thai Ha Redemptorist parish over the
Independent Catholic News reports a large
gang, backed by the People Committee of Quang Trung precinct, attacked Hanoi
Redemptorist Monastery chapel in Hanoi
Government officials and police prevented
parishioners from saving the building.
Fr Joseph Nguyen Van That, vice superior of
Hanoi Redemptorist Monastery said: "At 10pm local time, on Saturday night,
a delegate of the People Committee of Quang Trung precinct came to Hanoi
Redemptorist Monastery asking for an urgent meeting with the Redemptorists while
hundreds of people attacked our Saint Gerardo Chapel."
In an urgent email, sent to Redemptorists in Vietnam, Fr Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai, the secretary
of VietnamRedemptoristProvince, asked his confreres to pray
intensively for Redemptorists in Hanoi.
Fr Dinh said Hanoi Redemptorists rang bells to
summon nearby parishioners to rescue the monastery. Thousands of Catholics and
nearby parish priests rushed to the site to stop the gang from destroying the
Hundreds of police with stun guns prevented
them from entering the chapel. A parishioner said the gang ransacked the chapel
and asked police if they could set it on fire. They were instructed to
"wait for an order from higher ranking officials."
This was the second time the Saint Gerardo Chapel
has been attacked. On Sunday September 21, the chapel was ransacked with
statues destroyed, and books torn to pieces.
The thugs "yelled, smashed everything on
their way, threw stones into our monastery, and shattered the gate of Saint
Gerardo Chapel," wrote Fr Matthew Vu Khoi Phung, Superior of Hanoi
Redemptorist Monastery in a letter sent to People's Committee of Hanoi City and
police agencies of Hanoi and Dong Da district.
"Everything happened clearly in front of
a large number of officials, police, security personnel, anti-riot police, and
mobile police those who in charge of keeping security and safety in the region
but they did nothing to protect us," Fr Matthew said.
After Sunday Masses, a great number of
Catholics from St Joseph's Cathedral and other parishes travelled to Thai Ha to
pray and express solidarity.
"It's an obvious persecution against
Catholics by the government," said a parishioner from Thach Bich.
"For years, Redemptorist priests and their faithful have requested for the
requisition of their land illegally seized by the state. Having trembled their
legal aspiration, the government now openly persecutes them," she added.
"It was significant that the government
stroke Thai Ha parish right on the day Catholics in Vietnam celebrated the Feast of
Vietnamese Martyrs," a local priest said.
"This attack reminds people that since
its very first outset, the seed of Faith in Vietnam
soil was mixed with the abundant blood of the martyrs from all walks of life,
from the courageous missionary clergy as well as the local clergy and the
Christian people of Vietnam.
The Church in Vietnam
today is not better or even worse than in the past," he warned.