ASIA/VIETNAM – In the Missionary Month, the gift of new priests ready for mission

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Ho Chi Minh City – In this Missionary Month and with the resumption of pastoral activities after the temporary slowdown of the Covid pandemic, the rhythm of the life of the Church, the fruits of vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life are flourishing throughout Vietnam. As Fides learned, in various simple celebrations or with a few people present, but full of love and joy, 46 new priests were welcomed by their respective communities and 8 new deacons, ready to give themselves to pastoral and missionary work. “The priest is a person who creates a special relationship with all the people around him”, underlined Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang, presiding over the priestly ordination mass of 19 deacons of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Ho Chi Minh City, on the morning of October 16, 2021, in the chapel of St Joseph Monastery. In his homily, the Prelate said: “The Sacrament of Consecration transforms an ordinary man into a Pastor of God. The priest is linked to other people around him with a special relationship, as he guides the community of the People of God and communicates, through the Sacraments, Jesus Christ himself”.
Also in Ho Chi Minh City, Bishop Joseph Dinh Duc Dao, former Bishop of the diocese of Xuan Loc, ordained eight new priests belonging to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and then ordained 8 other Redemptorist religious as deacons. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mass was celebrated simply within the congregation, in the absence of relatives and friends of the candidates and in the presence of only some members of the Congregation. The Bishop reminded candidates for the priesthood that “they have been chosen to serve God and his people”. Mons. Dao also invited the candidates to “be linked to God in order to live the Word of the Gospel and to serve the people of God with enthusiasm, as Jesus did”. Previously, on October 13, 2021, Bishop Peter Nguyen Van Vien, Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Hung Hoa in North Vietnam, presided over the ordination of 11 deacons, including one from the Hmong ethnic group, the people who live in the mountains in North Vietnam. Father Joseph Ma A Ca is the first priest among the people of this ethnic minority. According to the new Hmong priest “his priority is to evangelize and give the Good News to these indigenous people, to educate young people and to help them in preserving their culture, tradition and their language”.
Many believe that the priestly ordination of Father Joseph Ca will be an impetus to spread the word of the Gospel to people from indigenous groups in the remote mountainous areas where the Hmong people live, in poverty, in regions where it is difficult to travel and bear the seed of faith. The presence of the first priest could set an example for young Hmong to respond to the vocational call and serve their indigenous communities. “From the beginning the Lord loved me and chose me among others. And now I go up on the altar with joy. I offer to our Lord my soul and my body, which are as white as the shining light. I spread the good news to everyone to save men of all nations”: these are the words of the introductory rites sung at the beginning of the mass of priestly ordination of six deacons, celebrated on the morning of October 18 in the parish church of Tra Kieu, popularly known as the Pilgrimage center to the Blessed Mary, in the diocese of Danang, in central Vietnam. “The six new priests belong to the Lord and continue to walk the path Jesus walked”, said Bishop Joseph Ngan. “They began to live a new consecrated life in the spirit of service, love and forgiveness, in order to bring the lost sheep back to the Father and to approach those who need the mercy of God”. Addressing those present, Bishop Ngan highlighted the role of the priesthood in today’s social life, reminding the new priests that they should live “like the leaven that ferments for life and as the light that shines on earth”. In particular, priests need to “strengthen their fidelity to follow Christ in the trials of our time”, he said. In fact, “Without love, everything becomes insignificant”, he added. “Only those who are filled with love and grace can share that love with others and serve others, sacrificing themselves to help others, as our Lord, Jesus did”, he concluded.