The Chairman of HCM City People's Committee, Le Hoang Quan, welcomed visiting Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli yesterday, saying the latter's appointment as the Vatican's non-resident representative to Viet Nam marked a further development in bilateral relations.
He said followers of many religions, including Catholics, had contributed to the city's development. The Catholics in HCM City carried out several works of charity including healthcare projects, he said.
Quan also expressed his appreciation of Cardinal Pham Minh Man, Archbishop of HCM City, and other Catholic priests for joining hands with the city government and contributing to the city's socio-economic development.
Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli said his visit aimed to strengthen relations between the Vatican and the Vietnamese Government. He said Viet Nam had achieved dramatic improvements in the living standards of its citizens.
Before visiting HCM City, the Vatican's special envoy had met with leaders of the Foreign Ministry in Ha Noi.
The archbishop yesterday attended the first annual conference of the Episcopal Council of the Viet Nam Catholic Church. He will lay the first brick of the headquarters of the council tomorrow and attend an ceremony for the Phu Cuong Bishopric in Binh Duong Province on Friday before ending his week-long visit to the country on Saturday.
He will leave for Singapore on Monday morning.
Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli is also apostolic nuncio to Singapore and Timor Leste and apostolic delegate to Malaysia and Brunei.