Friday afternoon (May 27, 2022), the Closing Ceremony has been celebrated in Saint Alphonsus Theologate, Redemptorist Province of Vietnam. 11 theologate students who belong to Batch 10 have graduated as well as received their diplomas. The Provincial superior of Redemptorist province of Vietnam, formators, and professors have been attended, together with almost 200 students of Saint Alphonsus Theologate.
Father Anthony Nguyen Van Dung, the dean of Saint Alphonsus Theologate, reported on the information for the school year 2021–2022 and gave some evaluations about students in terms of academics. He also invited all to praise the Lord for the blessings He has given throughout this school year. Many difficulties have happened: Students had to join online classes, even some students tried to attend their classes during the time of sickness for being positive of Covid 19, others had sacrificed for the apostolic works for the poor in the midst of the pandemic, and many 4th year students had to finish their synthesis paper in the hospitals. Even though Covid 19 pandemic has impacted seriously on Saint Alphonsus theologate, the program of theologate has been an end very well. This is a blessing from God and a good effort of students.
Father Joseph Do Dinh Tu, the Director of St. Alphonsus Theologate gave the Graduation speech. At first, he used the word of St. Paul to manifest a sense of gratitude, and thanksgiving. He also gave his message to all the students, especially the graduate students of this year: “by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain” (1Cr 15,10). St. Paul acknowledged his own limitations and sins. But he accepted them all with full humility and an open heart for God’s grace. Father Joseph told the graduates that they will face difficulties later on in the journey of the mission. However, the difficulties will become great chances for them. For they will realize that they are not able to depend on their own strength. Rather, they must rely on God and be open to God’s grace. If we acknowledge these we will find peace and happiness in the mission.
Actually, finishing the academic demands in Theologate does not mean that students are no more seeking understanding. The classes have closed but the door of the mission is open for students. The class of mission will teach them how to apply the lessons and knowledge that they have learned from the class. They will bring them to serve the people as Jesus did. They will follow Jesus, the Good Master. He invited the graduates to open for the concerns of the Church with their sensitive hearts, and gentle hands to embrace the suffering. As they do these they will bring the Good News to all the people, so that the world will realize the presence of the Kingdom of God.
After the graduation speech, Father Provincial gave the diplomas to the graduates. He also advised them to have a good relationship with Christ and follow him as an example in the journey of mission. He hoped that the world would realize the presence of God throughout their lives as missionaries.
In his homily, Father Provincial said that the modern world is facing secularism. Many people are trying to deny religion, especially against Catholics. We might be suffered from being persecuted in various ways. We find it difficult to practice our faith. However, as Catholics, we have to be in hope and happiness, for God is with us. Even though we are in the midst of the storm, we will find peace in God. He continued that the difficulty could be an opportunity for those who have strong faith as well as a good relationship with God.
The Closing Ceremony was ended with thanksgiving words of Father Director to Father Provincial, Superiors, Formators, Professors, and all the students of St. Alphonsus Theologate. Especially he invited all the people to congratulate 11 graduate students who fulfilled the Theologate program with diplomas.
On June 2, 2022, the Redemptorist Province of Vietnam officially announced the candidates who will profess their first vows (11 novices), final vows (12 brothers), and be ordained to the priesthood (8 confreres) and Deaconate (11 confreres).
The Mass of first and final vows will be celebrated at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, June 30, 2022. The Mass for the ordination of priests and deacons will be celebrated the next day (July 1, 2022). Both Masses will take place at the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help 38 KyDong, Sai Gon.
This joy is a great gift from God to the Redemptorist Province of Vietnam. Please join with in the prayers for our confreres who will profess and receive the sacred order.
Ban Van Hoa, St Alphonsus Theologate