24 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 09/04/2013 15:15
VIETNAM
Vinh: record applications to enter major seminary
Some 410 young people took part on 1 August in aptitude tests. Forty from among them will be selected to study to become priests. Female vocations are also growing. The basic tests are designed to know the motivations behind such a choice and hold back those who are motivated by "worldly ambitions."

Hanoi (AsiaNews/EDA) - The priesthood and the consecrated life are exerting a growing fascination among young Vietnamese Catholics as evinced by the high number of candidates applying to enter the Major Seminary of Vinh-Thanh (which covers the northern dioceses of Vinh and Thanh Hoa). Last month saw in fact a peak, with 410 men asking to write the entrance exam for the 2013-2014 academic year.

More importantly, such a high number involves an institution located in northern Vietnam, a traditional stronghold of the Vietnamese Communist Party, which for decades has used every means at its disposal to discourage religious practice and crush religious freedom. Catholics, who have often been associated with the West, have suffered persecution and abuse under Communist rule as shown by the life of Card Van Thuan and other priests.

For years, Vietnam's seminaries required candidates to undergo aptitude tests and exams at the level of each diocese and religious congregation, in both South and North, in order to carry out an initial screening and assess qualifications.

In the ecclesiastical province of Hanoi, there are four major seminaries. The one in the capital was the first to reopen in 1987 after the Communist government shut down it following reunification in 1975.

A few months later, a seminary reopened in Saigon, in the south, even though the conditions imposed by the authorities were very strict and news admissions were allowed only every six years.

Over time, things have changed and the new seminaries of Vinh-Thanh, Bui Chu, and Thai Binh were set up in the North.

This year, the diocese of Vinh (which has about 500,000 members) broke all records in terms of candidates to the priesthood.

On 1 August, 410 candidates from the diocese's three provinces took the entrance exam. After morning Mass, they wrote three tests to assess their level of knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, Christian spirituality, general culture and society. This was followed by one-to-one interviews to learn more about their wish to join the consecrated life. Only 40 will be eventually selected for the programme, which is set to begin in a few weeks time.

The number of female vocations is also a measure of the vitality and dynamism of the Vietnamese Church. In Vinh, the Congregation of the Sisters Lovers of the Cross organised exams for future novices on 27 July, with 65 candidates ranging in age between 18 and 23 admitted to the one-year programme in 2013-2014 to vet further their vocation.

Although the high number of candidates to the priesthood is a sign of the vitality of the Vietnamese Church, Catholic leaders still want to examine closely the reasons that motivate young people to want to dedicate their life to Christ and others.

Sometimes, the desire to wear the cassock is based more on "worldly ambitions" than a genuine spirit of service. This is why their motivations must be evaluated, and then adjusted, refined and purified along an educational path shaped by teachers, family, priests and other seminarians.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
08/28/2013 VIETNAM
Fr. Dominique, sowing seeds of faith in Vietnam amid war and Communist persecution
by Thanh Thuy
12/04/2009 VIETNAM-VATICAN
Expectations and hopes in the Church for the visit of Vietnamese President Triet to the Pope
by Nirmala Carvalho
08/27/2009 VIETNAM
Catholics in the United States in solidarity with the Church in Vietnam
by J.B. An Dang
02/22/2008 VATICAN
The “missionary dimension” concerns the whole Church and each Christian, says Pope
05/24/2010 CHINA - VATICAN
At Sheshan and throughout China we pray for unity and priestly vocations
by Zhen Yuan

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.