(Saigon, Vietnam) On the afternoon of September 6, 2021, three Redemptorist seminarians who joined the Archdiocese Saigon’s Volunteer Religious Group to serve at the Field Hospital returned to the theologate. They were joyfully welcomed by the formators as well as all the brothers. This was really a meaningful return because, over the last month, these Redemptorists had the opportunity to serve covid-19 patients and share the painful experience with them amid the pandemic. In addition to the joy of returning home, through the short reflection of the 3 brothers about the volunteering work, the formators and students also felt, to some extent, the pain that the patients had to go through. This urges them to increase their prayers, asking God to push back the pandemic quickly and bring peace to everyone.
Thank God and Our Mother of Perpetual Help for keeping our Redemptorist confreres safe and sound. May the experiences they had in the field hospital nourish the zeal of Redemptorist missionaries so that they can become witnesses of the Redemption in the midst of this wounded world.
As reported in the previous article, responding to the invitation of Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang in the Pastoral Letter on July 27, 2021: “May each person be an instrument of God’s mercy, be God’s lips, hands and feet, to serve our wounded brothers and sisters,” Saint Alphonsus Theologate of the Redemptorist Province of Vietnam has sent 9 brothers to join the Volunteer Religious Group (in 2 batches). In addition, at the Theologate, together with the Redemptorist Apostolic Office, nearly 20 brothers have formed a volunteer group to deliver necessities to disadvantaged people, especially those from the Central Highlands (belongs to minor ethnic groups such as Jarai, Bana, K’Ho…) are living in Saigon, Long An, Binh Duong, Dong Nai. According to initial statistics, as of September 5, 2021, they have bought and delivered: over 50 tons of rice, over 7,000 bottles of cooking oil, 6,000 bottles of soy sauce, 4,200 bottles of fish sauce, over 35 tons of vegetables, over 200 boxes of milk, over 1,500 chickens, 2,800 boxes of noodles (30 packs), 95 boxes of noodles (100 packs), Over 16 quintals of dried fish, over 5 tons of lemons, over 2.5 tons of lemongrass. It is true as Archbishop Joseph said: “Your possibilities are only “five loaves and two fish, but while we share, the Lord Himself will do the multiplication.”
Besides those Redemptorist seminarians of Saint Alphonsus Theologate are participating in the Volunteer Religious Group of the Archdiocese Saigon, there are at least 3 other Redemptorists and 1 deacon in some other communities such as Saigon, Tay Ninh, and Hanoi who also participate in different volunteer groups to help covid victims with many forms such as: serving at the Field Hospital, participating in spiritual support groups, counselling, blessing the dead.
Vietnam is undergoing the hard times of the waves of infections and lockdown these days. Please keep us in your prayers!
Ban Văn hoá and Duc Trung Vu, C.Ss.R.