Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - A course of basic training to discuss social problems and develop proposals or activities - aimed particularly at young people - in line with "the spirit of Christian charity." This was the initiative organized last August 17 to 20 by the Committee for social and charitable activities of the diocese of Xuan Loc, Dong Nai province (south-east Vietnam). Because the challenges of modernity "can not be solved only with money", but must be dealt with the "riches" that come from faith.
The project was proposed and developed by Father Nguyen Van Uy, head of the diocesan Caritas, and involved priests and laity of all parishes. Gathered in small discussion groups, participants shared projects and ideas for future initiatives. Father Tran Cong Hien, from the parish of Binh Hai, told AsiaNews that "next to knowledge, we must develop new qualities necessary to deal with social issues in today's context of the Catholic Church in Vietnam". He adds that, despite widespread poverty and poor economic resources, the diocese "through love of Christ and the Holy Spirit is trying to overcome difficulties and challenges”.
Father Joseph leads the vocational centres’ Peace School, engaged in the work of assistance to poor children in the province. He described the purpose of the institute, which “aims to train young people unable to find work in factories, hospitals, shops and schools”. He adds, however, that "knowledge and education" are not enough, rather the "riches of the Christian spirit, which help students acquire correct attitudes and behaviours to live in society” are also necessary.
The diocese of Xuan Loc boasts more than 200 churches and parishes, 266 priests and 1830 religious. The faithful number more than 600 thousand, over a third of the total population. The diocese Committee on social and charitable activities has invested about four million Euros in social activities and charities, including the construction of roads in rural areas, rehabilitation of young drug addicts, the care of the disabled, orphans, students and AIDS patients.