Traffic came to a halt when three Bishops, hundreds of priests and nuns, and thousands of faithful made a sudden protest at Hanoi former nunciature on Saturday morning. Out of their wits, police raided a children festival at Cua Bac (North Gate) parish on the evening.

An open church
Thousands of Catholics on the street
32 sisters of the Adorers of the Holy Cross congregation in Hanoi took their solemn, perpetual profession of vows in a Mass on Saturday morning at Hanoi Cathedral. Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Joseph Dang Duc Ngan of Lang Son, Coadjutor Bishop Peter Nguyen Van De of Bui Chu, and 70 priests of Hanoi archdiocese and nearby dioceses.

After the Mass, priests led the faithful march in procession from St. Joseph cathedral to the former nunciature where they had held daily protests until Feb. 1 when the government promised to return it to the Church.

Local police was reinforced by special units. However, they did nothing other than blocking the area to prevent people to join protestors who virtually converted the street in front of the building into an open church for hours.

Earlier this month, Archbishop Joseph Ngo complained that there are "numerous obstacles" in the dialogue with the authorities of Hanoi and the inability to solve the matter of the former nunciature, highlighting that the lack of good will on the part of the government has also made it more difficult to solve the question of the land belonging to the parish of Thai Ha.

"The dispute over the former nunciature," he said on Sept. 4, "has dragged on for more than eight months. We have followed the policy of the Holy See to solve the dispute with frank dialogue. But it seems to be so slow.”

“In fact,” Fr. Joseph Nguyen from Hanoi reported “the dialogue with the government is fruitless. It’s not my personal view. Most Catholics in Hanoi share it. The government was supposed to have taken a series of steps to implement its commitment, but nine months now and nothing happened.” “It’s just a hollow promise,” he concluded.

Trembled by sudden developments at Hanoi nunciature and the influx into the capital of ten thousands of Catholics from northern provinces, hundreds of anti-riot police raided Cua Bac parish at 6 pm local time. A police intelligence unit had reported a protest in the said parish. However, it was not a protest at all. Thousands of faithful gathered at the church to celebrate Mid-Autumn festival for children- a feast includes unicorn dances, children songs, stage performances and a full moon lantern parade.