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New archbishop installed for Hanoi

HANOI (UCAN): Fifty-eight-year-old Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien, was installed as the sixth archbishop of Hanoi at St. Joseph’s Cathedral on December 18.
In attendance at the installation Mass were Archbishop Marek Zalewski, non-resident representative of the Vatican to Vietnam, and Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, who was also visiting for official talks with the government.
Peter Cardinal Nguyen Van Nhon, former archbishop of Hanoi, Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, president of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam, other bishops and thousands of priests, religious and lay Catholics also attended the ceremony.
“I am really happy to be welcomed warmly by all of you,” Archbishop Nguyen told the gathering prior to the Mass.
“I feel moved (by) your love for me today.”
He stressed that Church leaders must serve people according to Jesus’ spirit of service.
“I come here as a servant sent to receive the archdiocese like my family,” he said.
“I need your prayers, solidarity and support for my new mission.”
Archbishop Thien added that he would fail in his mission if he did not have cooperation from all of God’s people.
“Please pray for me to have graces of sagacity, bravery and strength to recognize God’s will and meet expectations of the lambs,” he said.
Some Catholics said that Archbishop Thien is expected to try to help solve ongoing disputes over Church properties that were confiscated by the government.
They said Archbishop Vu gained practical experience on how to deal with these issues while serving for 16 years in the diocese in the port city of Hai Phong. 
While there, he took back possession of Hai Dương Martyrs Shrine, a former house for retired clergy, and the Ba Dong minor seminary building, and also ordained some 70 priests, opened 40 new parishes, re-established Catholic associations and promoted charitable activities.
On December 7, 13 priests from Hanoi engaged in formal dialogue with officials from the People’s Committee of Hoan Kiem District regarding government construction at an old church school. The priests said the district had violated the Church’s rightful land ownership and ignored an urgent petition against the building project submitted last month.

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