On September 16, on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, Venerable, Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, presided over a Holy Mass in memory of the Vietnamese Cardinal, in the church of Santa Maria della Scala where his body is buried.
The concelebration was attended by the officials priests of the Dicastery and Vietnamese religious living in Rome. Lay officials of the Dicastery, friends and representatives of prayer groups from various regions of Italy, as well as from other European countries, participated in the celebration, organized annually by the Dicastery which is the Actor in the Cause of Canonization of Cardinal Van Thuan.
As Tran Dinh, SJ, from Vaticannews, said in his article, during the homily, Cardinal Turkson presented the example and the testimony of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, through two accounts of personal and working life.
The first experience of meeting with him when he was President of the Episcopal Conference of Ghana:
"When I was president of the Episcopal Conference of Ghana, I invited the Cardinal to speak and share his reflections with the Bishops in the Conference. The topic he chose was "Prayer". One can say that Cardinal Van Thuan is a man of prayer, especially through his life and his books".
The second experience was a trip to Cameroon, where he was surprised to see a large group of prisoners praying to Cardinal Van Thuan:
"The detainees had a photo of the Cardinal and pleaded with him. They asked the Cardinal to let them live well. The example by which the Cardinal shone in Cameroon is a blessing. And the prisoners not only prayed for themselves, but also prayed that others would live a good life".
Prayer, therefore, as a moment of personal encounter with Christ, but also as a community act. Cardinal Turkson invited those present to pray not only for themselves, but also for those who ask for a memory and for those who persecute us. Venerable Nguyen Van Thuan can be the mediator of our prayers to God.
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, accompanied by traditional Vietnamese songs performed by a choir of Vietnamese Sisters present in Rome, the Prefect went with the faithful to the tomb of the Venerable François-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan for a conclusive act.
In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit, published on April 2, 2019, Pope Francis pointed to the Vietnamese Cardinal, former President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, as an example for the younger generations, as a person who had been able to live the present with a spirit full of love and trust in God, especially during his years in prison under the Communist regime.
The cause of canonization was opened in 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI. The Dicastery established in his memory the Justice and Peace Foundation (ex-San Matteo), which supports young students in social doctrine of the Church and projects related to the spread of social doctrine in developing countries.