HANOI - Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Đình Tung, Archbishop emeritus of Ha Nôi (Viêt Nam), passed way this morning (February 22, 2009) in Hanoi.
Cardinal Tung was born on 15 June 1919 in Bình-Hòa, in the Diocese of Phát Diêm. Ordained to the priesthood on 6 June 1949, he was named Bishop of Bac Ninh on 5 April 1963 and received his episcopal ordination on 15 August that year.
He was called to assume the role of Apostolic Administrator of Han Nôi on 18 June 1990, after the death of Cardinal Joseph Trinh Văn Căn on 18 May. On 23 March 1994, he was appointed Archbishop of Ha Nôi.
For virtually all the 30 years of his episcopate in the Diocese of Bac Ninh (except the last four), he was forced to stay at home without ever being able to make pastoral visits to the more than 100 parishes in his ecclesiastical territory. With only three priests in all, and restricted in his movements and means of communication, during his years of 'house arrest', the Bishop started to write the whole of Jesus' life as it is told in the Gospels, the Christian doctrine, the commandments of God and of the Church, and the sacraments in the 'luc-bat' poetic form (stanzas of six or eight words). The cadence of the composition helps people learn them quickly.
He formed councils of lay people in the parishes, their number varying according to the importance of the parishes, to be responsible for the continuation of religious life in the local communities and provide a three-year marriage course for the young people.
Another initiative promoted by the former Bishop Pham Đình Tung was the foundation of a secular institute for boys and girls for the purpose of training them as catechists. The initiative has had excellent results and these young catechists, traveling all over the country guaranteeing catechetical courses everywhere, especially to children.
The results of this work of evangelization were demonstrated in a Jubilee Year proclaimed to mark the centenary of Bac Ninh Cathedral's foundation. The celebrations began on 8 December 1992 and ended exactly a year later. It was recorded that more than 30 thousand faithful visited the mother church of the Diocese.
In 1990, John Paul II promoted the Bishop to Ha Nôi, first as Apostolic Administrator and subsequently on 23 March 1994 as Archbishop.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in the Consistory of 26 November 1994, of the Title of St. Mary Queen of Peace in Ostia.
Archbishop emeritus of Ha Nôi, 19 February 2005.