Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Road of Hope: The Spiritual Journey of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan

On April 24, 1975, six days before the city fell to the North Vietnamese army, Father Van Thuận was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Saigon. It led to his subsequent arrest by the new communist regime, which sent him to a “re-education camp” for 13 years, nine of which were in solitary confinement.
During those years in jail, he found himself in a situation of seemingly utter hopelessness.

But instead of wallowing in his misfortune, he saw it as an opportunity to come into closer communion with Christ, increasing his hope, which he was then able to pass on to others.

After his release in 1988, he was exiled in 1991, but welcomed home by Pope John Paul II, who made him an official in the Roman Curia. The Holy Father later appointed him president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, a post he held from 1998 to 2002. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 2001.
Meeting with those who helped complete the diocesan phase of Cardinal Thuận’s beatification last week, Pope Francis recalled his “witness to hope,” saying his memory is still alive and that he had a “spiritual presence that continues to bring his blessing.”

Many people were edified by their encounter with Cardinal Van Thuận, the Pope added, and many recall “his gentle smile and the greatness of his soul.”

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