05/16/2018, 17.46
VIETNAM
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In May Catholics honour the Virgin with flowers, songs and dances

by Thanh Thuy

Mgr Joseph Châu Ngọc Tri, bishop of Lạng Sơn and Cao Bằng said, “We offer our lives as if they were flowers to [. . .] Our Lady.” Five colours symbolise the graces the Vietnamese ask from Our Lady. In Ho Chi Minh City, thousands take part in the ceremony organised by the Sisters of the St Thomas Institute.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Catholic devotion to Our Lady is very deep across the country and gets stronger during the month of May dedicated to Mary.

In every parish, believers of all ages take part in various ceremonies, including floral offerings called Dâng Hoa in Vietnamese (pictured) to honour the Mother of Jesus.

In churches, the altars devoted to the Virgin are always full of fragrant buds and incense. One of them is in Vũ Lễ, a remote part of the Diocese of Lạng Sơn and Cao Bằng, near the border with China. The local bishop recently visited the community.

On 12 May, Mgr Joseph Châu Ngọc Tri led the Mass and the offering ceremony during which he confirmed four young people.

"We are gathered here today, in this moving atmosphere, to offer beautiful and fragrant flowers to Mary Mother,” the bishop said during the service. “Let us raise our hearts to express our love and honour Our Lady. Through her, we come to Jesus.”

“We offer our lives as if they were flowers to the Mercy of God to please Our Lady. I prayed that God may help us change and have a better religious life every day, greater fervor in the life of faith, and strength in proclaiming our faith and bearing witness to everyone the love of Jesus."

The diocese’s Communications Office said that "during the ceremony of flower offerings, five parish groups performed traditional dances as well as a religious song titled ‘The gift of five-coloured flowers (Dâng Hoa Năm Sắc).

Speaking to AsiaNews, Mr Truong Son, a parishioner in Vườn Xoài (diocese of Saigon), said that "In the 'Month of Flowers', the faithful offer songs, prayers, dances and flowers in various colours: red for sacrifice, yellow for love, white for virginity, purple for loyalty, and green for hope. Mary Mother will pray to the Lord to grant us these graces."

Also on 12 May, the Sisters of the St Thomas Institute in Ho Chi Minh City organised an offering at the church of the Redemptorist Fathers. Thousands of faithful took part.

"I carefully watched the nuns, who performed traditional dances in harmony with sacred songs and colorful flowers,” said a non-Catholic music teacher. “This is a show of respect, love and gratitude to Mary Mother. I am very moved. In this atmosphere I see the sanctity and honesty of Vietnamese Catholics."

Echoing the teacher’s words, a Catholic university student was “touched by the beauty of the melody of the hymns. The harmony of these sacred songs goes well with the dances. In this solemn atmosphere, everyone is here to present beautiful roses to Our Lady. This initiative expresses the love of the community towards Her."

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