(Saigon, Vietnam) – 7:30, Saturday, April 24, 2021, Saint Alfonsus Theologate – Redemptorist Province of Vietnam held a seminar with a theme: “The Mission and Evangelization of the Church.” The seminar participants are seminarians and professors of the Theologate, religious brothers and sisters of many different Congregations, Redemptorist postulants and members of Redemptorist Youth Ministry. The seminar aims to rediscover and ignite each Christian’s evangelising spirit, particularly among young religious brothers and sisters again. The main speakers of the seminar were Father Joseph Do Quang Khang, Professor of the Major Seminary of St. Joseph Saigon and Father Joseph Tran Si Tin, a Redemptorist missionary who has been doing mission with the Jrai people for more than 52 years.
1. The nature of mission according to the Gospel
The first speaker, Father Giuse Do Quang Khang, brought the audience back to the foundation of faith. Based on John’s Gospel verse: “Just as the Father sent me, I also send you” (Jn 20:21), Father Joseph asked: “Are there one or two mission?” After analyzing the original text, Father Joseph observed: There is only one mission entrusted to Jesus by the Father, which is “to make people become God’s children.”
However, this mission has a dual character. The Father entrusts Jesus to “make a person become a child of the Father,” and then Jesus assigns the mission to that child so that he or she will continue to “make another person become son or daughter of the Heavenly Father.” This mission requires the recipient of the mission to have a “experience” of being God’s child before proclaiming about God.
Then Father Joseph further analyzed the Gospel of Matthew: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teach them to keep everything I have commanded you “(Mt 28:19-20). If the mission, according to John’s Gospel, is “a Father-Centered Mission”, then according to Matthew’s theology presents a “Christ-Centered Mission”: “to make all nations disciples of Jesus.” We wouldn’t be able to “make one a disciple of Jesus” if we weren’t really disciples of Jesus, Fr Joseph observed.
In his conclusion, Father Joseph reminded the participants of the idea: God commanded us to “do”, but God did not say “how” God was open to our freedom and creativity.
2. Missionary spirit
Stepping up the stage in lucidity at an advanced age, Father Joseph Tran Si Tin addressed everyone:”I don’t dare to stand here to preach, but I stand here to ‘testify’ of God’s blessings given to me in my missionary life.”
Then, based on Acts 2:36: “Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified,” Father Si Tin shared about the way of Lectio Divina and Kerygma for more than 50 years in his Jrai ministry.
“Evangelization is done through praying to the Word of God, Lectio Divina, not just by sermons”, the experienced missionary talked. “Jrai people often pray with steps: listening to God’s Word – praying to it – bearing witness of God’s graces. Father Si Tin believes that witnessing is very important because it strengthens the faith of both the witness and the listener. Through the Lectio Divina, the Jrai brothers and sisters realized and boldly confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord. That is the very core of the Church’s faith: Jesus Christ died, rose, and ascended into heaven, named by God as Lord and Christ.
After discussion between audience and speaker, the seminar ended and everyone left in the grace and peace of the Risen Christ.
Khanh Linh, a member of RYM in the south of Vietnam, said: “Thank God for what we learn today. This is the beginning to be immersed more in the missionary spirit in general, and the missionary spirit of Redemptorist in particular.”
Minh Duc Quach, CSsR, and Duc Trung Vu, CSsR