#LittlePilgrimage 32. St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Hà Nội – Vietnam

Saturday 18th May 2019.

During my recent holiday to Hà Nội, Vietnam, while my buddy trip was having a bowl of warm Phở, I ventured out to the famous St. Joseph’s Cathedral, located on the west side of Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

Familiarly called by the local as “The Big Church”, Saint Joseph Cathedral is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi for more than 4 million Catholics in the country. It is the representative evidence of the French colonial architecture, during the expansion in its colonial empire Indochina. It was not until the Christmas Eve of 1990 that the mass was allowed to be celebrated there.

#LittlePilgrimage 32. St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Tòa Tổng Giám mục Hà Nội, 40 – Nhà Chung – Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội – Việt Nam

The exterior of this church was as high as 64,5 meters in length, 20,5 meters in width, 31,5 meters in height. The façade consists of two towers, square in shape with five bells.The twin bell towers with the resemblance to Notre Dame de Paris.The exterior walls made of granite stone slabs, yet is stained with pollution with the pass of time.

Meanwhile the interior was in Gothic style, tall windows with pointed arches. Stained glass windows were produced in France then imported to Vietnam. Typical Roman Catholic church with rib vaulted ceiling like those seen in medieval Europe. Weathered nave with shiny sanctuary made of trimmed wood. And also the statue of Virgin Mary kept in palanquin, to the left of the nave.

It was already 6PM by the time I arrived at the Cathedral and The Mass has just started. I know – the church was open for public and many of them are not Catholics. It was quite irritating and sad to see a lot of tourists hung around during the Mass with their camera shutters, video-tapping, and making noises at the back of the pews while I was sitting down quietly trying to figure out and follow the Mass ceremony that was held in Vietnamese.

For those who wants to attend English Mass, I believe they do have it every Sunday 10:30AM.

Sadly their website only in Vietnamese.

And here is the wiki for this Cathedral; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Joseph’s_Cathedral,_Hanoi

For the glory of God

On the Gospel reading (1 Cor 10:31–11:1) gives us a great motto that we should post on our bedroom mirrors so that it’s the first thing we see as our sleepy eyes awaken each morning: “Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.”

Everything! Brush your teeth for the glory of God. Kiss your family “Good morning!” for the glory of God. Go to Mass for the glory of God (in other words, we don’t go to church just for what we can get out of it). Do your work for the glory of God. Drive politely for the glory of God. Shop and eat and greet others for the glory of God. Say yes to the needs of the Church for the glory of God. And receive all that he wants to give you (the compliments, the money you earn, the answered prayers, the good times and rewards) all for the glory of God.

This should be part of our daily prayers every morning: “Holy Spirit, help me to do everything today for the glory of God. Amen!”

By making it a daily habit to start the day this way, the glory of God becomes integrated into our character. When we remember to see our activities through the lens of “whatever you do, do it for the glory of God”, we become stronger in avoiding all kinds of sins. It sanctifies each moment of every day.

Often, we see religious activities as separate from our normal activities. We take “time out” from our schedules to go to church. We stop what we’re doing when we want to pray. We think that only Clergy and Religious can be religious all of the time and that a layperson who is like that is a “fanatic”. But why?Read More »