The Vietnamese Church remembers John Paul II with reverence and affection. "Maybe it's because he, Polish, came from a nation that has historical and social characteristics similar to Vietnam. This has allowed him to be close to the misery of our people, sharing the sufferings of the Catholics."

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - The news of the beatification of John Paul II, has met with great joy among Catholics in Vietnam. Perhaps there has never been a more active Pope for Vietnam: he formalized the Vietnamese bishops' conference, canonized 117 Vietnamese martyrs, appointed delegations and a representative to visit and work in Vietnam ... He also sent us many letters pastoral, received the Vietnamese bishops, welcomed many Vietnamese staff to the Vatican and appointed many new bishops for our country.

In the history of the Vietnamese Church the special relationship between the Church here and the Holy See is evident. Through its help, while facing many difficulties and persecution, the local churches in Vietnam have grown strong and mature.

This relationship with the Holy See was strengthened by John Paul II. Maybe it's because he, Polish, came from a nation that has historical and social characteristics similar to Vietnam. This allowed him to be close to the misery of our people, sharing the sufferings of Catholics.

Through the use he made of the media and the international Catholic radio (such as Radio Veritas), the Pope's pastoral letters and messages were immediately translated into Vietnamese, and so almost all the Catholics were able to understand and recognize his goodness.

A group of volunteers of Caritas Saigon comment on the "unforgettable words of Pope John Paul II. He once said he seeks every opportunity and means to communicate with the Vietnamese people. Your country - he said - is in my heart. How I wish to have a chance to see and learn about each of the local churches to express my love for your whole nation. "

At the canonization of the 117 Vietnamese martyrs - June 19, 1988, hampered by the government in Hanoi - the pope said to Catholics: "Once more we can say that the blood of martyrs is for you, Christians in Vietnam, a source of grace to make progress in faith. In you the faith of our fathers still continues to be transmitted to new generations. This faith is the foundation of the perseverance of all those who, feeling authentically Vietnamese, faithful to their land, want at the same time to continue to be the true disciples of Christ ... .. The search for the common good of the country is therefore a genuine need for the Christian citizen, freedom to proclaim the truth of God, in communion with the pastors and our brothers in faith, the desire to live in peace with other men to build awareness for the good of all. "

On December 14, 1996, the pope met in Rome with Card. Định Pham Tung of Hanoi and 13 other Vietnamese bishops on their ad Limina visit, and recommended to them that "the Church wants to be fully present in the reality of the country, with her distinct vocation. She shares in the journey of all members of the nation, she shares the same history, the same trials and progress. She does not act in a spirit of rivalry or through seeking her own interest, but wants to live in communion and harmony with all. "

Because of his openness to the Vietnamese people, Pope John Paul II was beloved by all. At the announcement of his death April 2, 2005, all Vietnamese expressed their grief and wept. A faithful of the diocese of Qui Nhon recalls: "At 17:30 on 8 April 2005, the population of eight parishes in the diocese of Qui Nhon, those being Tuy Hòa, Mằng Lăng, Đồng Tre, Sông Cầu, Đông Mỹ, Hoa Châu, Tịnh Sơn, Sơn Nguyên gathered in the cathedral to pray for the deceased Pope. Among them was also a Buddhist nun, Thích Nữ Trúc Liên; Đinh Thống the pastor of the Protestant Church; Mr. Lễ Sanh, representative of the caodaista faith, and many non-Catholics and some communist leaders of government. All prayed for him and recalled his kindness and compassion. "

Pope John Paul II also worked very well to build diplomatic relations with Vietnam. In 1989, under the leadership of the card. Roger Etchegaray, a Vatican delegation arrived in Vietnam: it was the first visit by the Holy See, to discuss some important issues with the authorities.
Thanks to the atmosphere of mutual respect, understanding and goodwill between the two parties, a dialogue began and that gave a positive signal for the future. The road is long and fraught with difficulties, but it seems the only viable option for the good of Catholics in Vietnam and the nation.