West indian literature

The Church of Vietnam celebrates four centuries of Catholic literature


The Church in Vietnam rejoices to mark 400 years of its great contribution to national literature by publishing a collection of extensive research and material on Catholic publications.

Father John Vo Ta Khanh, who is responsible for Catholic documents in the Diocese of Qui Nhon, said Italian Jesuit Father Jeronimo Majorica created a wood-engraving press to make copies of Catholic documents in surname (south) characters. , the ancient writing system of Vietnam, into Thang Long (present-day Hanoi) in 1632. The establishment was destroyed by the authorities that year, but it deserved to be considered a milestone in the birth of Catholic literature in Vietnam.

Father Khanh, who is active in spreading Christian culture, said to mark the 400th anniversary of the printing of Catholic materials in 2032, he and a Catholic writer completed Around 400 years of Vietnamese Catholic literature (1632-2032)).

The book, a collection of 150 in-depth articles and research by 100 authors, including non-Catholics, provides a historical overview of Vietnamese Catholic literature over the past 400 years and applauds the efforts of Christian generations to contribute in a significant to the national literary treasure. .

The priest, who is also a poet, said the book focuses on early evangelistic efforts by foreign missionaries from the 16th century, the creation of the Romanized Quoc Ngu writing system by the Jesuits, church documents composed and published in Chu Nom and Quoc Ngu, translation of the Bible into local languages, and production of religious prose novels, poetry, chronicles, articles, dictionaries, research, prayer songs, classical dramas, newspapers and magazines during the four last centuries.

Quoc Ngu was officially taught in schools and became Vietnam’s authorized script in 1919, while Chu Nom fell into disuse in the late 19th century.

We hope that our work will inspire younger generations to participate in Catholic cultural and literary research and local languages ​​to express Gospel values ​​to others.

Father Khanh said the book is available in electronic form on church websites in Vietnamese so that all people, including non-Catholics, can learn about the great contributions of Catholics to national culture and literature and interested in Catholicism.

He said he was raising funds to print copies of the 1,500-page three-volume book in May and make it available to 10,000 seminarians and religious students in seminaries and houses of study across the country. .

Father Khanh said seminarians and religious students should learn the history of Vietnamese Catholic literature to help stimulate interest in the native language and evangelization among them.

The subject will provide students with a framework for studying missionary history. The history of Catholic literature is both the skeleton and the soul of missionary history, and a testimony to the missionary spirit and experience in the country.

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He said his book was among the references on the subject.

“We hope our work will inspire younger generations to participate in Catholic cultural and literary research and local languages ​​to express Gospel values ​​to other people,” he said.

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