Saigon – The structure that houses the Community of the Lovers of the Holy Cross sisters and the church built on the ground of Thủ Thiêm (photo), in Saigon, are safe: the authorities have given them the status of “buildings of historical value,” thus prohibiting any type of construction or construction intervention in the two new monuments. This was announced this week by Lê Thanh Liêm, one of the four vice-presidents of the popular committee of the southern city. The measure represents the final chapter of a long – standing controversy between the regime and local Catholics over an urban development plan in District 2. In recent years, the imposing project of the regime’s real estate agents has caused the expropriation of the homes of about 15 thousand families. and threatened the existence of the two buildings, the beating heart of the community.
The construction of the Community of the Lovers of the Holy Cross nuns began in 1840; that of the church of Thủ Thiêm in 1859. With an area of about four hectares, the complex features elements of French ecclesial architecture. The land is located in functional area 2A in the New Urban Area of Thủ Thiêm. The city had planned to demolish the buildings to make way for new buildings. In the face of resistance from Catholics , the Popular Committee announced at the beginning of February last that plans had changed: some main buildings would remain standing.
On April 18, 2019, at the end of the Chrism mass, Monsignor Joseph Đổ Mạnh Hùng, auxiliary bishop and apostolic administrator of the city, informed those present: “On March 21, the representatives of Ban Dân Vận (Public Relations Committee) and the Committee for Religious Affairs of Saigon made a visit to the bishop’s office. Officials have informed us of the new urban policy: the parish of Thủ Thiêm and the Community of the Lovers of the Holy Cross nuns will remain in place, because they are historical, cultural and religious buildings.”
However, in July, rumors suggested that the authorities had sent people to the area to parcel the land and build roads along the Saigon River.