Letter of Director of Caritas Vietnam for Members of Caritas Vietnam
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This year Caritas celebrates its 70th anniversary since the first congress of Catholic Charities held in Rome in 1951. One of the events to mark this anniversary is the Caritas worldwide campaign “Caring for Creation, Caring for the Human Person” which will run from the end of 2021 to the end of 2024. The purpose of the campaign is to mobilize Caritas members, and indeed all of society, to participate in the programs to take care of the earth and of its people. In particular, this campaign was launched in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still causing difficulties for many countries. The pandemic causes confusion and death, but it is also an opportunity for us to realize the need for more solidarity with each other and with nature. Solidarity with man and solidarity with the natural world are two inseparable requirements. In his letter to introduce the campaign, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, President of Caritas International, wrote that “now is the time for Caritas organizations to come together in a fraternal spirit, to work towards an ecological transformation and a way to promote integral human development.”
This solidarity has been mentioned many times by Pope Francis. "The current pandemic makes it very clear,” the Pope says, “that we are dependent on each other: we are all connected, for better or for worse.” To get through this crisis in a better condition than before, we need to get better at living in community. Overcoming the current crisis cannot be done in a personal, solitary manner. We must either do it together, or we cannot accomplish anything (see: Pope Francis, General audience, September 2, 2020). Against the globalization of indifference, we must cultivate “the art of encounter,” (FT 204) which will help us to “act for the survival of the Mother Earth and of mankind” (Tagle, op.). Saving Mother Earth and saving humanity are two themes mentioned in particular by the Pope in his recent encyclicals Laudato Sí and Fratelli Tutti.
Following Pope Francis’ guidance on Earth Day (April 22), we can do several things with regard to the environment and human development:
1. Raise awareness and prevent actions that pose an environmental risk; avoid purchasing or consuming environmentally destructive products (cf. LS 210).
2. From within the family, learn to show love and respect for life; learn the proper use of things, learn order and cleanliness; have respect for local ecosystems and take care of all kinds of creation (cf. LS 213).
3. Admire natural beauty as a precious gift from God, thus avoiding the abuse of such gifts (cf. LS 215).
In the joy of Easter, we sincerely wish that you and the whole Caritas community receive the rich power of the Risen One to make this Earth a place where we can live together. On this occasion, we also congratulate you on the Feasts of the Father Caritas Long Xuyen (St. Isiodor 04/4); Caritas Saigon, Deputy Director of Caritas Xuan Loc; Caritas Thanh Hoa (Thanh Vinh Son, April 5); and Caritas Bui chu (Divine Mercy, Sun II PS).
Fr. Joseph Ngo Si Dinh, OP.
Director of Caritas Vietnam