Vietnam Allowing More Seminarians in Hanoi

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HANOI, Vietnam, JULY 20, 2004 ( The government of Vietnam has authorized 90 students to enter St. Joseph's Major Seminary in Hanoi this year, an unprecedented decision.

Bishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Lang Son, apostolic administrator of the Hanoi Archdiocese, said that the authorization is a sign of hope for the Church in northern Vietnam, Vatican Radio reported.

In the 2004-2005 school year, the seminary will have a record number of students. The seminary opened its doors in 1989.

In previous years, the maximum number of seminarians who could register was 60 every two years.

Because of the government's control over the seminaries, most dioceses in northern Vietnam have a shortage of priests. In Hanoi, for example, each parish priest has to assist between 5,000 and 10,000 faithful.