Diocese of Vinh

Nghi Dien, Nghi Loc, Nghe An
Phone: ( +84 ) 0,383,861,171
Email: tgmvinh@gmail.com

Xa Doai, September 6, 2013


I would like to extend to all priests, men and women religious, seminarians and the entire community of the people of God in the diocese of Vinh my cordial wishes of peace and unity in Christ.

Dear brothers and sisters,

The date of September 04, 2013 should have been a blessed day for our diocese as it was our auxiliary bishop’s installation day. Regrettably, right after our joy and laughter blossomed early in the day, on that very afternoon, tears and blood of innocent people followed due to the crackdown in My Yen parish of Nghi Phuong commune, Nghi Loc county, Nghe An province.

As you all might have known, at about 3:30 pm on Sept 4, 2013 pursuant to the Promissory Note of the local government, signed on Sept 3, 2013, relatives of Peter Ngo Van Khoi and Anthony Nguyen Van Hai along with other parishioners from My Yen parish of Phuong Nghi commune came to the office of the People Committee of Nghi Phuong commune to pick up and take the men home. Upon their arrival, they were surprised to learn that there was no such commitment to be undertaken. On the contrary, the authorities were planning a large scale deployment with hundreds of public security agents, riot police, militia, professionally trained dogs, tear gas... to block the entrance to office of the People's Committee of Nghi Phuong commune.

When a small group of Mr. Khoi and Mr. Hai relatives approaching the barbed- wire fence of the mobile police with the intention of going into the office of the People's Committee, they were immediately met with tear gas, sticks, clubs, explosives, professional dogs... as the barbaric attack was being launched. Many people fainted; the rest became panic stricken and ran off in all directions. Several ran off to take refuge at the houses across the street from the office of the People's Committee of the Commune.

Immediately, the government forces broke doors, rushed into the houses, destroyed furniture, attacked all those who were present, assaulted and arrested the owners.

Even more seriously, they smashed and insulted statues inside Anthony Nguyen Van Van residence. This is a blatant act of sacrilege, severely insulting their religious belief

The devastating attack resulted in the injuries of 40 people, including women and adolescents. A number of victims are still in critical condition, fighting for their lives. The Bishopric has been working hard to provide medical care to these victims at the General Medical Clinic of Xa Doai Bishopric, the 115 Hospital, and the Friendship General Hospital of Nghe An.

In conformity with the Notice of the Bishopric of Xa Doai, I vehemently condemn the inhumane conducts and the barbaric, violent actions of public authorities. In the meantime, I urgently call on all of you, my dear brothers and sisters, to keep praying, offer your sacrifices as well as take realistic actions to be in communion with My Yen parish and stand in solidarity with victims of violence.

Specifically speaking, the entire diocese of Vinh, on each Sunday, the parishes will hold vigils and offer Mass to pray for both Peter Ngo Van Khoi and Anthony Nguyen Van Hai who are still in detention, as well as for all the victims of violence. On this occasion, let us earnestly beseech God to always keep our diocese safe and for the authorities to learn how to apply their power properly to serve the common good, to respect people's dignity and religious beliefs. This praying would continue until all victims released and the injured fully recovered.

As your diocesan bishop, I urgently implore God to bless all of you. Please pray for me, my brothers and sisters, and also for our diocese.

Your bishop,
+ Paul Nguyen Thai Hop
(signed and sealed)