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    » 04/06/2009, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    2,000 young people of the diocese of Saigon prepare to become Catholics at Easter

    Trung Tin

    A significant encounter with Cardinal Pham Minh Man and auxiliary bishop Van Kham, to whom the young people posed questions about the faith, but also about the issues of ordinary life and the lives of the faithful in today's Vietnam.

    Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - During Lent and Holy Week, 2,000 young people of the parishes of Ho Chi Minh City (archdiocese of Saigon) are studying the catechism, to become part of the Catholic community. In this period, they have had the opportunity to meet with catechists and pose questions on what they have learned, and other issues. Of special significance was the encounter with Cardinal Jean Baptist Pham Minh Man, archbishop of Saigon, together with auxiliary bishop Pierre Nguyen Van Kham, during which they asked questions about the faith, issues of daily life, and the concerns of Catholics in today's life. One of those who are studying the catechism tells AsiaNews, "I am preparing to receive the sacraments of Christian people such as baptism, confession and to get the body and blood of Jesus. I am thinking about Jesus’ Passion, and getting ready for Easter Sunday."

    Fr. Pieter Nguyen Van Hien, secretary general of the Committee of Catechism and Faith of the Vietnamese Bishops' Council, emphasizes that "this is the first time that pastors of the diocese contacted, met, and exchanged experiences with 2,000 young people. For a long time, the board of catechists has hoped to provide practical services for parish priests, for catechists who are teaching catechism for young people. Here we listen to the new Christian members. They have a lot of thoughts, want to find out about Christian dogma and Catholic miracles. At the same time, the catechists board has recognized the responsibility to take care of every phrase of the journey for learning the catechism and beginning for their life as real Catholic persons.

    "Vietnamese Catholics have also thought about the case of Thai Ha Parish and the Redemptorists in Hanoi. Just yesterday 'they' gave “nguoi cong chinh' (equitable persons) an ovation, but yesterday Mr. N.H.V. (a writer in Hanoi) wrote that 'Father Matthew VKP does not know the country’s leaders are very powerful? Why has "ong Phung" (Mr. Phung) talked in utter disorder?' Today is Palm Sunday, we think about the case of Jesus Christ: 'There many false and many contradictory witnesses. The High Priest solemnly asked Our Lord if He was the Messiah, the Son of God – when Our Lord answered affirmatively and predicted that they would see Him coming as their judge, all shrieked that it was blasphemy and that He was worthy of death. So ended the religious trial. During and between these hearings Our Lord was insulted by the guards, Peter denied Christ and repented, and Judas hearing of the death sentence, committed suicide. In the context of the society nowadays, it is true that it is very difficult to accept suffering. Our whole being rebels against suffering. We can see this so often when we are sick or inconvenienced or when we are treated badly by others. When our response is love, the whole situation somehow changes in a very positive way. When our response is anger, the situation also changes, but not in positive ways. Today’s culture encourages anger, with a presupposition that we always have justice on our side. Jesus had justice on His side and responded with acceptance and forgiveness - and the world was changed forever.'

    "Today is Palm Sunday. In Vietnam, we are invited to reflect also on our relationship with suffering, both out of obedience to God and out of love for others. Jesus challenges himself to participate in the salvation of the world by sharing in suffering, which is accepted out of love for God and others. Let us learn this form of suffering by meditating on God himself, on how he lived and died."

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    See also

    09/04/2009 THAILAND
    Thailand, 283 converts to receive baptism at Easter
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    24/03/2006 THAILAND
    250 catechumens to be baptized at Easter

    The reasons prompting them to embrace Catholicism differ. "Being Catholic has changed my life," said one. "The teaching of the Church has taught me how to love."



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