The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam has just announced that the 30th anniversary of the canonization of 117 Vietnamese martyrs will be celebrated starting on 19 June until 24 November 2018, the feast day of the martyrs.

As part of the celebrations during the Jubilee, bishops encourage faithful, especially those who are living overseas, and find difficult to return to Vietnam due to various reasons, to make pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Vietnamese bishops, themselves, will go to the Terra Sancta for two special events.

With the kind permission of Sr. Valerie of The Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant Church, located at an altitude of 756 meters above sea level, on the north western edge of the town of Abu Ghosh in the central Israel, a statue of Our Lady of La Vang is going to be erected in the garden of the Church. On October 18, 2018 Mgr. Joseph Nguyễn Chí Linh, archbishop of Huế, and president of the Vietnamese Bishops' Conference will preside the Unveiling Ceremony of the statue.

La Vang in Quảng Trị Province was the location where Our Lady appeared to console the faithful who had fled to the jungle to avoid waves of persecution 220 years ago.

The next day, on October 19, Archbishop Nguyễn Chí Linh, and other bishops from Vietnam and in diaspora will concelebrate a mass at the Church of the Beatitudes where they bless a stele inscribed with The Eight Beatitudes in Vietnamese.

Fr. Paul Văn Chi of the archdiocese of Sydney, Australia welcomes the move stating that he will organize a group of pilgrims from Australia to be in Jerusalem for the occasion.

“Which place could be the best to meditate the testimonies of the martyrs, if not the same places where for more than 2000 years keep the memory alive of our redemption?”, he asks.

“Walking on the steps of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the disciples, helps us to deepen our faith and to understand the context in which the Christians live in the Holy Land,” says Fr. Anthony Nguyễn Hữu Quảng, a Salesian in Melbourne, who has been in the Holy Land so many times that he cannot remember.

“As those who were forced to leave behind everything to seek for freedom and a life of dignity, we understand clearly the outcry of our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land who have to continue suffer difficulties, challenges, and insecurities. Let us show them concretely our closeness. The pilgrimages are a form of sustenance for the survival of thousands of Christian families,” he adds.

“It should be wonderful if we can organize a large pilgrimage gathering both Catholics in Vietnam and those in diaspora,” wishes Archbishop Nguyễn Chí Linh.

The ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, especially latest developments in protests in Gaza and West Bank over moving US embassy to Jerusalem, causes certain concerns for some. However, large Vietnamese Catholic groups in USA and Australia indicate that they would make their best efforts to pilgrim to the Holy Land in that occasion.