07/19/2008, 00.00
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The Vietnamese Church waits for freedom, joy, vocations: the fruits of WYD

by JB. VU
Bishops and teachers ask how WYD can renew the life of the youth communities in the country, marked by drugs, AIDS, abortion, and hopelessness.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - The Vietnamese Church asks the young pilgrims returning from Australia to spread the pope's message, sharing it with "friends, family, and the faithful in their parishes". In particular, the young are asked to share with those who remained at home the message of "love and hope" issued by Benedict XVI to the young people gathered in Sydney.

The pope's message closely concerns the young of Ho Chi Minh City, who often feel marginalized from society and have to face serious problems. In the former Saigon, there are more than 23,00 young people with drug problems, more than 38,000 with HIV and AIDS, and more than 1,000 abortions per month. To flee from a reality marked by difficulties and suffering, more than 50,000 young people have abandoned the city, seeking their fortune abroad.

Paul Nguyen Van Doc, bishop of My Tho, emphasises the "profound connection that Benedict XVI has been able to establish with young people", a relationship that is not made up only of "words", but is reflected in "a complete and total self-donation to God, in the spirit of love for neighbour and of hope". In a reality marked by difficulties and crises in the family, once the foundation of Vietnamese society, he invited the young people to become "concrete witnesses of the message of love for those around you and for God".

A young man of the parish of Bach Dang explains the interest of young Vietnamese in World Youth Day: "Through Catholic websites, I listen to the Holy Father, hearing the voices of thousands of young people from all over the world, gathered in Sydney. I hope that we will soon have the same opportunity in Vietnam . . . I hope the pope can come here eventually". An elementary school teacher in the city calls upon the government to dedicate more attention to those who ask to participate in religions assemblies all over the world. "There is an old Vietnamese saying that 'Tram nghe khong bang mot thay', 'seeing is believing'", she says. "I hope that the government will also give us young Vietnamese the freedom to participate in new international spiritual encounters. The desire is to recreate in our parishes the same impulse and enthusiasm of WYD, and give rise to new missionary vocations".

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