In Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon and the country’s largest city, 680,000 of its 9 million inhabitants are Catholic and their numbers are growing to the point of causing concern to the socialist regime. The recent conversion of Tô Hai, a “founding father” of Vietnamese communism and famous national composer caused a sensation. See: Vietnamese Leader Rejects Socialism and Joins Catholic Church.
In the diocese of Saigon there are 670 priests, more than 5,000 men and women religious, more than 7,000 catechists, and every year over 6,000 people ask to be baptized, according to the Spanish website “Religión en Libertad.”
In 2012, for example, 6,736 adults were baptized. There were mostly former atheists, Buddhists or ancestor worshippers. The current number of infant baptisms has tripled. For the sake of comparison, the Catholic Church in large dioceses such as Los Angeles and New York baptizes between 1,300 and 1,600 adults per year.
Catholic dioceses in Vietnam (seven million faithful out of a population of 90 million) do not grant dispensations for marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics. Insincere conversions are few. However, the sincere faith of one of the spouses tends to touch the other one’s heart.
For example, in 2005 Teresa Nguyen Thuy Kieu gave up Buddhism because she admired the Catholic steadfastness of her spouse.
Today she is an active member of the Legion of Mary, teaches catechism two afternoons per week and follows up adults in the process of conversion. She also tries to attend Mass every day even though she has to tend to her store and take care of her two small children.
Teresa has already had her “baptism of blood” with the government’s socialist doctors that routinely try to make pregnant women abort. In her case, the doctor said her baby would be born defective and tried to have her abort.
Already a Catholic, and aware that having an abortion is murdering a child, she refused the temptation and prayerfully put the case in God’s hands. The child, a girl, was born prematurely but now almost one year old, is healthy and strong.
Teresa’s example so impressed her family that her mother, sister-in-law and 11 nieces and nephews asked to be baptized.
Socialists look down on Catholics with scorn and suspicion, but their godless opposition is unable to contain the wave of conversions raised up by Divine grace.