SAIGÒN - Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City has appealed to Catholics to bear witness to the late Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan’s beatification process before a Vatican delegation in March.

Cardinal Man announced on January 1 that the delegation from the Vatican-based Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace plans to visit Vietnam from March 23 to April 9 to meet and listen to witnesses with regard to Cardinal Thuan’s beatification cause, which was officially launched by the pontifical council on October 22, 2010.

Cardinal Thuan was named coadjutor archbishop of Saigon archdiocese seven days before South Vietnam fell to the communist North on April 30, 1975.

The communist authorities rejected his appointment and imprisoned him for 13 years, nine of them in solitary confinement in the north. Released in 1988, he was allowed to travel overseas in 1991. While abroad, he was barred from returning to Vietnam.

In 1994, Blessed John Paul called him to Rome and appointed him vice-president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He later became president of the council from 1998 until he died of cancer at age 74 in 2002.