Hue Archdiocese territory covers an area of 9,799.7 square kilometers with a population of 2,295,000. It comprises two central provinces of Quang Tri and Thua Thien - Hue. It is bounded on the east by East Sea, on the west by the border of Laos. On the south it is bounded by the city and Diocese of Da Nang, and on the north by Quang Binh province.
Diocesan website: www.tonggiaophanhue.net
The people are bound by strong family ties. The family is traditionally religious, and most local interactions are characterized by religious tradition. Most social celebrations are also related to religious and cultural events.
The archdiocese is home to ethnic groups of Bru Van Kieu, Chinese, Ko Tu, Ta Oi and Tay. It has Catholics from those ethnic groups.
Foreign Jesuits started to evangelize people in the archdiocese in early 17th century. Many people including royal families were baptized.
Foreign missioners established seminaries and gave priestly formation to local men. They also trained lay leaders and established indigenous Religious congregations.
The archdiocesan territory has many religious sites where many local Catholics and foreign missioners throughout the country were put in prisons and killed for their faith during 18th -19th period of bloody persecution at the hands of imperial soldiers.
Bac Dang Trong (North Cochinchine) Vicariate was erected on Aug. 28, 1850 by Pope Pius IX. The vicariate had 24,000 Catholics served by two French missioners and 12 Vietnamese priests, and indigenous Adorers of the Holy Cross. It also had two seminaries.
On Nov. 24, 1960, Blessed Pope John XXIII established the Vietnamese Catholic hierarchy. On that day he elevated Hue along with Ha Noi and Sai Gon (now Ho Chi Minh City) vicariates to archdioceses at the head of ecclesiastical provinces covering modern-day Vietnam. That same day the pope appointed Vietnamese Archbishop Pierre Martine Ngo Dinh Thuc to head Hue Archdiocese. Ha Noi having had a Vietnamese apostolic vicar since 1950 and Sai Gon since 1955.
In 1962 Archbishop Thuc attended the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) in Rome and did not return home after his brother, the South Vietnamese president Jean Baptiste Ngo Dinh Diem, was assassinated in 1963. The assassination intensified U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
Archbishop Thuc stepped down in 1968 and died in 1984 in the United States.
Archbishop Thuc was the uncle of Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan who spent the last eight years of his life in Rome and served as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace from 1998 until his death of cancer at age 74 in 2002. Earlier he spent 13 years in detention under harsh conditions in his homeland.
The archbishop's residence is located in Hue, Vietnam's former imperial capital.
Many local parishes were erected over the last 300 years.
Pastoral activities are focused on worship, youth apostolate, social action and pastoral work with the family. Devotions remain popular, but adequate success has been achieved to integrate these with liturgy. Thus, devotions to saints, who are local favorites, have been weaned off the novena syndrome and integrated with the celebration of the Mass.
Local Religious work with followers of other faiths to provide health care for HIV/AIDS patients. They also give spiritual and material support to poor people, patients and disabled people.
Local Church people give accommodation to poor students, orphans, elderly people and unwanted pregnant women who avoid abortions.
Local Catholics are given courses on Scriptures, catechism and liturgy.
The archdiocese plans to build proper facilities at the national shrine of Our Lady of La Vang for ceremonies of the Jubilee year 2010 marking the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the first two vicariates - Dang Ngoai (Tonkin) and Dang Trong (Cochinchine) and the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnamese Church hierarchy.
The area suffers severe climate influenced by wind from Laos. Temperature is from 8-39 degrees Celsius. It is hit by many storms from September and October.
The territory has agriculture, fishing and tourism services. Rice is the main crop in the area. Hue, the former capital of the country's last Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), is famous for kings' tombs, imperial palaces and ancient Buddhist temples.