Regarding the two state officials who disrupted and committed sacrilege against Holy Eucharist at Vu Ban Church, Hoa Binh province.

The Chancery Office of Hanoi Archdiocese would like to inform our priests, religious, and our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ as follows.

As scheduled by the pastoral program of the Mission Year, on Sunday, February 20, 2022, Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien officiated the 10 AM Mass at Vu Ban parish church, in Vu Ban town, Lac Son County, Hoa Binh province. When the Mass approached the Communion, two individuals in inappropriate clothes (one in a raincoat and protective helmet) rushed up to the sanctuary. They blatantly took the microphone at the podium, ordered the parishioners to disperse despite many parishioners and concelebrant priests trying to intervene. They are known as Pham Hong Duc, Communist Party's Secretary of Vu Ban town, and Pham Van Chien, Vice chairman of People's Committee of Vu Ban.

This is an indication of such uncultured, inhumane act, an abuse of power, a serious violation of right to enjoy religious freedom, to practice religion of our bishops, priests and faithful, as well as an act of sacrilege to our Holy Eucharist, the most sacred rite, and to the faith of our Catholic faithful. This action is unacceptable in a country with the rule of law, causing frustration and pain to the faithful present at church as well as those who view the images of the incident on the internet.

The very next day, on February 21, 2022, the Archdiocese of Hanoi filed a complaint to the authorities at all levels of this condemnable incident, at the same time asked the People's Committee of Hoa Binh province to respect the right to freedom of religion and to participate in religious activities of all Catholics in Hoa Binh province where religious activities are frequently harassed by local authorities, despite the fact that the Archbishop's Office has repeatedly requested for government's intervention from central to local levels.

This letter is to inform our priests, our brothers, and sisters throughout the Archdiocese. Together let us pray that the difficulties our priests and faithful in Hoa Binh province have been facing when practicing our faith would soon be resolved.

Hanoi, February 24, 2022

O/B the Office of Archbishop of Hanoi

Rev. Alphonsus Pham Hung

Chancellor, Chancery Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi