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April 1: Research
and preparation

April 2: What a drive!

April 3: Heroes
suffering for the faith

April 4: Why go
to Vietnam?

April 5: The Church triumphant!

April 5: Cemetery prayers

April 6: Cat Ba
Island Mass like
the early Church

April 7: Visit with seminarians

April 8: Meeting the Sisters

April 8: Reflections

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Despite some rain, a large crowd came to the groundbreaking.
Courtesy photos


Very Rev. George Mockel

April 5, 2014
The Church triumphant!

In my previous blog I told you about the Pastoral Center Ground Breaking I was invited to attend. What a day?

As we drove to the site for the 9 a.m. ceremonies the skies began to look ominous. The drive took about 30 minutes and as we got closer the rain began, such that when we finally arrived, it was pouring, as it only can in a tropical climate! But, as if on schedule, at 9 a.m. the rain ceased and only gave us few sprinkles of water here and there during the ceremony to provide the necessary "holy water" for the blessing.

The property is adjacent to the government police academy. Not particularly significant except when you find out that the police academy is located on property confiscated from the church by the government many years ago. The church has been negotiating for the return of the property for many years. A compromise was reached deeding over the adjacent property to the diocese.

As I said in a previous blog: "A picture is worth a thousand words." There are many "pictures" in this story!

The original chapel still stands on the police academy site. The government removed the cross from the steeple, but did not destroy the chapel building. The red flag with the gold star waves in the breeze, not far away.

Once the new property was acquired by the church the first thing constructed on the land was. ... you guessed it ... a cross. A giant cross! It towers over the entire site, and of course beyond.

In my remarks during the ceremony, I commented that this cross is a metaphor for the church in Vietnam. The cross of Christ was firmly planted in this land many years ago. Despite times of difficulty and persecution, the cross of Christ ultimately triumphed. The cross of Christ ultimately always will triumph. I thought of that hymn that we frequently sing during this Lenten season: "Lift High the Cross."

A very good day indeed.

(Father Mockel is vicar general of the Diocese of Oakland and pastor at Santa Maria Parish in Orinda.)


That’s Father Mockel in the center in the white shirt and hard hat, wielding a shovel.


The property is adjacent to the government police academy, property confiscated from the church.


Once the new property was acquired by the church the first thing constructed on the land was. ... you guessed it ... a cross. A giant cross!


I commented that this cross is a metaphor for the church in Vietnam … the cross of Christ ultimately triumphs.
 
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