(Sai-Gon, Vietnam) It was a great day for the Redemptorists in Vietnam as 14 novices professed their first vows and 8 brothers made their profession of final vows on Tuesday 2nd July, at the shrine of OMPH Sai-Gon.
The mass was presided over by Rev. Joseph Nguyen Ngoc Bich, the provincial superior and concelebrated by more than 130 priests. There were many religious brothers and sisters, the families, relatives and friends of candidates attended to pray for them and wish them best for the future.
In the homily, Rev. Joseph Do Dinh Tu, Director of the Academy of St. Alphonsus, emphasized the typical characteristic of the rich young man in Matthew 19: 16-26. He has a strong desire to reach a higher level of perfection. This is also the desire of Jesus for our lives. Jesus does not want us to live a normal life. He invites the young rich man: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Matt 19:21). To fulfil Jesus’ desire, 14 novices made their first vows and 8 brothers dedicated their whole lives to follow Jesus intimately by their final profession. 22 young men responded to the calling of Jesus to follow closely his footsteps.
With 14 newly professed brothers, Saint Alphonsus Academy in Sai-Gon will increase to 84 Redemptorists, with 26 students studying philosophy and 58 students following the theological studies. Besides those Redemptorist students, the Academy also provides the academic programs for seminarians of other congregations.
Yet another important day for the Redemptorists in Vietnam that as many as 8 deacons were ordained to the priesthood and 5 were ordained as deacons on Wednesday the July 3rd, by the most Rev. Stephen Tri Buu Thien, Bishop of Can Tho, at the shrine of OMPH Sai-Gon.
There were also more than 180 priests, 200 religious brothers and sisters, and nearly 1,500 people attended the Eucharistic celebration.
In his homily, Bishop Stephen reminded the candidates: “Following the example of the Good Shepherd, you are called to serve, not to be served.” He also mentioned that the spirituality of Redemptorists is to serve the poor, especially those who are marginalized.
At the end of the mass, Rev. Dominic Nguyen Duc Thong, the vicar provincial superior, gave a vote of thanks to the Most Rev. Stephen and all those who celebrated the mass. He too asked everyone to pray for those newly ordained Redemptorists to be faithful to serve God and His Church, in a wounded society of VIET-NAM.
After two days of God’s blessings, the number of Redemptorists in VIET-NAM increased to 357, with 84 professed students, 240 priests, 33 deacons and non-clerical brothers. They are living in 27 communities and serving 18 dioceses out of 26 dioceses of VIET-NAM.
Written by: Bart Nguyen, CSsR
Translated by: Duc Trung Vu, CSsR
Photos: Hoai Nguyen Van, CSsR