Catholics in Vietnam pray for America

When America remembered the tenth anniversary of 9/11 last weekend, I recalled something a nun in Vietnam said to me several years ago. I had been shadowing her as she visited very poor children in rural areas, as well as children with AIDS, deaf children, and undocumented children of migrant workers who have the odds stacked against them from birth.

In broken English she said, “I pray for you in America.”

I was puzzled. Why pray for America? It’s one of the wealthiest nations in the world, with political and religious freedoms foreign to the average citizen living in communist Vietnam.

Who knew that Catholics in Vietnam pray for America? We can learn from their faith.

Who knew that Catholics in Vietnam pray for America? We can learn from their faith.

“You live in fear,” she said.

I shook my head with questioning eyes to say, “What do you mean?”

“Because of terrorists,” she explained. “I pray for your country.”

While I didn’t choose to debate the level of fear Americans may or may not experience due to the threat of terrorism, I was moved that a Vietnamese nun who spent her life ministering to the poor would pray for us, of all nations.

This nun is a prime example of why Cross Catholic strives to foster an exchange between the Church in developing countries and the Church in the America. (Core Value #4) Scripture tells us the poor are rich in faith (James 2:5); and it’s that quality Cross Catholic strives to carry back to America. That rich faith.

Maybe the poor are rich in faith because they don’t have the opportunity to misplace their trust in material wealth, or in positions of power and influence. Rather, they must depend on the Lord for everything. I believe it’s their faith that causes the Lord to move Catholics to give, and the Lord uses those gifts to reward their faith.

As Americans encounter national hardships from terrorism to economic crisis, let us emulate our brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the world. Pray for each other. And have faith.

-Nola B.