To exchange information, enhance support and mutual understanding among different groups of Redemptorist Lay Missionaries a Zoom meeting was held under the guidance of Fr Jovencio Ben Ma in the Conference of Asia-Oceania, at 8:00 a.m. Monday, July 14, 2021. The participants were Fr Paul Vinh, Joseph Tam, Joseph Hoan, Augustine Phi (Vietnam), Fr Mauricio Lee (Korea unit); and few Vietnamese and Filipino lay missionaries.
The meeting focused on three main issues: (1) the detailed report on the training program and the current status of Redemptorist Lay Missionaries in three regions of Vietnam; (2) the development, direction, and future projects for Lay Missionaries; and finally, (3) discussion about the need of help and support supplied by the Conference and other units.
In the first part, after listening to the detailed report of the Redemptorists of the Executive Board of Redemptorist Lay Missionaries in Vietnam, it can be seen that after a period of operation (since 2014 for the South and officially in 2020 for nationwide after the promulgation of the decree of the Provincial Superior), the training program for the candidates of the Redemptorist Lay Missionaries has achieved its progress. The chaplains of the three regions conducted vocation promotion, recruited members, and organized training programs for candidates through the Bible readings, Catechism, methods of prayer, as well as spirituality and charism of the Congregation.
However, due to the pastoral reasons and the Covid-19 pandemic, the training program is still at the initial stage and still faces many difficulties and challenges. In the North, the program has gathered groups of registered parishioners spread across many Redemptorist communities such as Hanoi, Thai Binh, Hai Duong, Thai Nguyen, Bac Kan, and Cua Lo communities… A large number of laity joined and the mission functioned quite well.
In the central region, Fr. Augustine Le Quy Phi shared that the work of training a new member of Redemptorist Lay Missionary is at the level of gathering enthusiastic people in the parish of Mother Perpetual Help in Hue City to learn a specific theme each month, to ignite the missionary spirit. However, because of the outbreak of the disease, the program was interrupted.
Meanwhile, in the South, since it started in 2014 under the direction of Father Joseph Ho Dac Tam, Redemptorist Lay Missionaries were able to carry out several activities in the mission field, teaching catechism and serving the poor in Can Gio.
Concerning the development and future projects for candidates, with the aim of training lay missionaries to serve the Church’s mission of evangelization at large, in which the priority is given to the poor and the most abandoned. The training program launched by the Province focuses primarily on cultivating knowledge of the faith and training students in basic skills to build up a life of prayer and mission. After completing three years, the candidates will enter the stage where one officially becomes a Redemptorist Lay Missionary.
With such summaries, the training program of Redemptorists in Vietnam still faces many difficulties. Finally, the leaders and members of the Redemptorist Lay Missionaries in Vietnam expressed their opinions, wishes to learn more valuable experiences from other provinces in the region, by providing learning materials, expanding the number of members participating in online meetings, as well as leaving open the possibility of organizing a face-to-face meeting in the future.
The Media of Redemptorist Lay Missionaries in the North of Vietnam
(Duc Trung VU, CSsR)