05/20/2008, 00.00
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900 Vietnamese prepare for World Youth Day

by JB. VU
They are waiting for visas from the Australian embassy, anxious to join their peers from all over the world to pray together and exchange experiences of pastoral and social work.

Haiphong (AsiaNews) - 900 young Vietnamese Catholics are preparing to take part in the World Youth Day that will be held from July 15-20 in Sydney, with the participation of Pope Benedict XVI.  They have requested visas from the Australian embassy, and cannot wait to join their peers to pray together, exchange experiences, and discuss the mission of young people in the society and Church of today.

"World Youth Day is approaching", Vu Van Thien, bishop of Haiphong and coordinator of the World Youth Day for the Vietnamese bishops, wrote in a letter to the young people.  "The Holy Father", the message continues, "will be among the young people who will arrive in great numbers from various countries.  Many Vietnamese will also participate in the event, an expression of the Vietnamese youth, open and loyal to their country, the pope, and the Church.  At the same time, they will present the enthusiastic, active, and fruitful image of the Vietnamese Church".

"I hope to be able to go to Sydney", says a young man of Ho Chi Minh City.  "The visa process", he continues, "is going well.  I hope to be able to exchange experiences of work with the young people of Vietnamese origin who live in Australia.  This will be helpful for my spiritual life and for my service on behalf of disadvantaged children in my country". 

Another young person, a woman named Hoa, also hopes to go: "I am proud",  she says, "of our saints who were martyred under the Nguyen dynasty.  We want to express our faith in God and our fidelity to the Church.  We, the Vietnamese young people, want to see our friends from all over the world, to pray together and be revitalised when we return home".

The head of a social work group in Ho Chi Minh City that helps young people with AIDS says that he has been "dreaming about this day for a long time.  I am getting very excited as the time approaches.  I want to open my mind, to learn more about organising social and pastoral activities for the young people of my parish.  This day is truly a good opportunity to be encouraged in my work with young people, who face so many difficulties all around them".

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