HUẾ (September 14, 2009) - The second day of struggling to keep the Sunday school, the church’s property of Loan Ly Catholic Church in Lang Co, Huế, Vietnam failing short.

View photos of chidren began their first day of school and latter were sorrounded by security forces After a long night struggling with a great number of policemen and local authorities, women and children were exhausting. Many of them were hurt. Two teenagers who were caught in the madness trying to defend their mothers were arrested, and yet released. The government uses their power to control the innocent parishioners. They use water guns and electric batons and man power to silence the voice of these voiceless people.

Loan Ly School surrounded by police
In the early morning of Monday September 14, 2009, policemen came in a great number, military trucks and construction cars surrounding the parish. They blocked the high way I 1. Policemen are fully arms and ready to react, if parishioners make any move. They forbid the villagers to move about the village.

With the greater protection from police, they began their project of building a brick wall around the school to confiscate this church’s property. Parishioners watch what was happening hopelessly.

One cannot stop but wonder, what will happen next? Who can be the voice for these voiceless people who are yet hopelessly watching their church’s property, the heritage of their forefathers and mothers passed on to them, is being confiscated by the communist government? What more can we do beside to pray for them? How can we do to give voice to this voiceless people? The second day ends with exhaustion, humiliation and hopeless!

Sunday September 13, 2009

On 8:00 am (local time), when the children, religious sisters, catechists and parents with Fr. Paul Ngo Thanh Son, the pastor of Loan Ly Catholic Parish, which belongs to Hue’s Diocese (central part of Vietnam), gathered together to begin their Sunday school year.

The local communist government and police came, forced the children out of school, locked all the doors and tried to confiscate this property of the church.

Fr. Paul Ngo Thanh Son, the pastor of Loan Ly Catholic Church
Under the guidance of Fr. Ngo, the children began their first day of Sunday school outside on the school yard. With the help with religious sisters and catechists, the children began their catechist classes, praying, singing and dancing. While the students were having catechist classes, the local authority, police cameras, photographers were surrounding, recording and watching the event unfolded, and waited for the opportunity to act.

After catechist class, the students started chanting a folk song that they all know very well: “Cái nhà là nhà của ta, công khó ông cha lập ta, ta quyết tâm giũ gìn.” (This house is our house, our heritage. Our forefathers and mothers made for us. We need to protect it with all our hearts.)

Knowing of what was going to happen; Fr. Ngo dismissed the Sunday School and sent the children home, while police and local authorities were watching, hoping for a peaceful resolution.

It did not stop there! With all those trucks and heavy construction equipments ready, the local authorities were trying to confiscate this property of the church. About 1:00 AM (local time) Monday September 14, 2009, they began their fencing around the school. The parishioners noticed and the bell of the church began to ring. All women and children in the middle of the night were out of their beds, came to the school and tried to protect their school from being confiscated. Violence began.

Parishioners confronted with local government authorities and police
As the result, many women and children were hurt. The local authorities and policemen put up the fence and parishioners tore it down. Verbal confrontation, physical violence was throughout the night. With bear hands and foot, the parishioner fought back.

Monday morning came; local authorities and police brought more police to fight the defenseless parishioners. The communist authorities blocked the main high way I 1 (which runs through the village). They did not allow the parishioners go out of the village and others cannot come in. They tried to isolate the event. What is happing now, it is hard to predict. However, if no one intervenes or says anything about this, violence continues to pour upon these innocent and defenseless people.