At a meeting with priests of the Diocese of Hai Phong, from left, Rev. Quang Minh Dong, a priest of the diocese of Oakland who is assigned to a parish in Las Vegas and who is serving as guide during the Vietnam pilgrimage; Most Rev. Michael C. Barber, SJ, bishop of Oakland; Most Rev. Joseph Vu Van Thien, bishop of Hai Phong; and Very Rev. George Mockel, vicar general of the Oakland diocese.
Very Rev. George Mockel
April 4, 2014
Why go to Vietnam?
There is another very important reason for my visit to Vietnam and to the Diocese of Hai Phong.
One of the additional "hats" that I wear is that of Director of the Propagation of the Faith. This office exists to provide financial support to the missionary activity of the church and to educate people here at home about the missionary and evangelizing efforts that all of us are called to provide by virtue of our baptism.
Many people are very generous in responding to the needs of the missions with their financial donations to the Mission Co-Op Appeal that takes place in our parishes each year, usually during the summer months. Others make direct contributions to the mission office particularly during Christmas time and the Lenten season. It is a way to live out our Baptismal responsibilities to care for the poorest of our brothers and sisters and to "go out to the periphery" as Pope Francis challenges us to do. Some people remember the missions in their wills and trusts. It is a way to continue their legacy, even after they have died by providing assistance to the poorer members of the church.
One of our priests who died some time ago left a substantial portion of his estate to the missions through the Propagation of the Faith. His generosity along with the generosity of several others made it possible for us to provide the financial resources for the first phase construction of a Pastoral Center here in the Diocese of Hai Phong. The first phase includes residences for retired priests and a chapel. Since the financial resources came from the estate of a priest, I thought that was very appropriate!
So I was invited here for the groundbreaking ceremonies. More on that dramatic event in my next blog. As always … stay tuned!
(Father Mockel is vicar general of the Diocese of Oakland and pastor at Santa Maria Parish in Orinda.)
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