.- In an open letter dated February 1, Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi officially confirmed the concession from government to return the nunciature and praised the solidarity of Catholics in Vietnam and around the world.
Since December 18, thousands of Catholics in Hanoi and other dioceses have been organizing daily prayer vigils outside the former nunciature in Hanoi, pleading for return of the building that had been confiscated by the Communist leadership in 1959. Their protest has resulted in a stunning victory with the agreement from the government to turn the building over to Church leaders.
During 40 days of protest, “We have lived a new Pentecost,” the prelate wrote. “We have been united and devoted ourselves to the prayers…despite challenges and hardship”.
The prelate expressed his appreciation to the solidarity which “is not limited within the archdiocese of Hanoi but extended world wide”. Daily reports in various languages from Asia-News, Catholic News Agency, Catholic World News, Independent Catholic News, VietCatholic News Agency and others drew great attention of Catholics around the world. The protest also garnered international media attention with extensive coverage by secular media.
In particular, the prelate thanked the Holy Father and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, who closely and attentively followed events in the diocese. He trusted that the Holy See would always raise its voice for the legitimate aspirations of Vietnamese Catholics before the government.
Recalling challenges of the protest and the hardship that Hanoi clergy and faithful faced during the protest in cold rains and biting winds, the prelate praised the sentiments of fervent devotion and deep attachment to the Church, the deep loving relationship between pastor and flock, amicable relations between faithful, and devout prayers to the Lord. They are "a gift of grace from the Lord".
In conclusion, the prelate thanked all people in Vietnam and around the world for their prayers and their support and wished them a very happy new lunar year filled abundantly with Lord’s grace.