Caritas Hai Phong: Lenten charity with the elderly at the Nursing Home
"Lent: A Time to Refresh Belief, Hope and Love"
Lenten charity with the elderly at the Nursing Home
In this year's Lenten Message, Pope Francis once again urged us to take advantage of the time of Lent to further our charitable activities. On March 20, 2021, the "sweet fragrance of charity" spread to the residents of the Hai Phong Nursing Home for Nurturing and Protection. The visit of thanksgiving and sharing with the elderly here was organized by the local group “ Gospel Family,” in collaboration with the Diocesan Caritas Office of Hai Phong.
The Hai Phong Nursing Home is a place to receive, care for and nurture those elderly residents of different districts of Hai Phong city who don’t have any other support. Currently, the institute is home to 102 people, of whom five are Catholic. Among them were a number of old men who had just applied for baptism and lived their new faith with great zeal. Informed of the visit, the residents prepared themselves and asked to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation.
At the beginning of the Mass, Priest Peter Sanen Nguyen Van Hieu, spiritual director of “Gospel Family,” shared all the moral practices of Lent, such as praying, going to the Cross, confessing, engaging in charity, and explained that they are aimed at helping each person to experience God's love more clearly.
Today's visit and sharing of charity are not outside of that goal, and I wish both the "giver" and "receiver" to feel deeply the great love that God has for humanity. In his homily, Fr Joseph Nguyen Van Vang, Director of Diocesan Caritas of Hai Phong, started with the concept of "suffering" to deepen the love of God. Suffering is considered to be the result of sin, and is an inevitable part of all human lives. But out of love for people, Christ used "suffering from suffering," that is, he used the way of suffering to redeem us all from eternal suffering.
From the supreme position of God, he was incarnated as a human, accepted all the sufferings of human existence, revealed to man the love of God, and culminated in accepting his life on the cross. All this, in order to save mankind from sin, to redeem to man the status of being a son of God. That look of hope will surely bring comfort to all who suffer, especially for the elderly in nursing homes. And the presence today of priests and members of the Gospel Family, as well as Caritas members, contributed to that comfort.
After the Mass, the elders shared a simple yet loving meal together. Caritas members also came to each room to give gifts of rice, cake, and milk. Everyone's face exuded joy because it had been a long time since they had received visitors, due to the epidemic. Today the hospital was able to welcome visitors and, even more precious than the material gifts, the elderly received many spiritual joys. May the elders regularly receive visits and help from many kind hearts, to ease their disadvantages and enjoy living together in peace.
Caritas Hai Phong
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