Benedictine Father Francis Xavier Tran Van An yesterday presided over a groundbreaking ceremony for a new drug rehabilitation center near the national Marian Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang in Quang Tri province.
About 100 people attended the event for the center, which the Benedictines hope will help local drug abusers kick their habits and return to normal lives.
“The center aims to provide free rehabilitation, spiritual healing, health care and vocational skills for a rising number of drug addicts in the area,” said Fr An, 40, who heads the project.
Fr An, who has provided rehabilitation services at his monastery for years, said many parents have sought assistance from the Benedictines after their children have failed to overcome their addictions in state-run facilities, for which they must pay as much as 3 million dong (US$300) per month.
A former drug addict himself prior to becoming a Benedictine, Fr An said the order since 2008 has been providing rehabilitation services, accommodation and vocational training to about 8 drug addicts each year. He added that about 25 people have given up drug use through the program and now have employment, while five have joined the Catholic Church.
Fr An said the new center will accommodate 80 to 100 patients and will include a chapel, library, living rooms, bedrooms, a playground and gardens, all situated on a 3,000-square-meter plot of land.
He estimated the cost of the center to be about 4 billion dong but that benefactors have so far only donated one billion dong.