A meeting at the Vatican on Friday between the president of Vietnam and the Pope could be landmark step paving the way to establishing formal diplomatic relations.
Around seven per cent of Vietnam's 86 million people are Catholic.
For years they have had a difficult relationship with the country's communist government which has traditionally viewed organised religion with suspicion.
From Ho Chi Minh City, Al Jazeera's Divya Gopalan reports.
Source: Al Jazeera