For the first time, the Vietnamese Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer (VLMMHR) gathered for two days on Saturday and Sunday, November 26-27, 2022, at the Pilgrimage Center of Our Lady of La Vang in Hue Diocese. There were participants such as Fr. Joseph Nguyen Ngoc Bich, the Provincial of the Redemptorist Congregation of Vietnam; Fr. Joseph Ho Dac Tam, the Head of the Committee of the VLMMHR; Fr. Paul Luu Quang Bao Vinh, the CSsR General Consultor; the priests who work in different regions and about 250 lay people from different Redemptorist communities of Bac Kan, Hanoi, Hai Duong, Nghe An, Hue, Quang Ngai, Central Highlands, Can Gio and Saigon.
This very first meeting is a result of more than two years since starting the formation of VLMMHR in different communities. At the beginning of the program, Father Joseph the Provincial greeted the participants from various parts of the country. During his two terms as the Provincial, he has always paid close attention to the lay brothers and sisters, to their position and role in collaborating and participating in the apostolic mission of the Congregation. It is in this concern, on March 15, 2020, he officially established the VLMMHR. Since then, there have been lots of formation programs organized in different local Redemptorist communities: one-to-one training, online training, retreats, seminars, meetings, prayer, etc.
After the opening words of the Provincial, Father Paul Luu Quang Bao Vinh presented the topic “who the Lay Missionaries of the Redemptorists are?” in which he explained their identity, their call according to the Redemptorist charism as the role of a layperson. They become partners of the “Redemptorist family” in doing the mission and sharing the same spirituality, and the same charism with the Redemptorists.
In the second half, Father Paul shared the messages of Pope Francis to the Redemptorists in the XXVI General Chapter. To conclude his sharing, Father Paul took the time to listen and answer some questions from the participants regarding the training program, regulations, and procedures for admission to the VLMMHR.
The meeting continued with group sharing run by Father Joseph Ho Dac Tam, head of the Committee of the VLMMHR. Each group consisted of around 15 members from different regions, discussing in three questions:
(1) What difficulties and challenges do you face in the current situation, when carrying out the mission of evangelization? Do you recognize any signs of hope?
(2) Share some possible ways or methods of evangelization.
(3) How can members of each group increase their solidarity and communion with each other while carrying out their mission?
In the afternoon, participants shared their own experiences of the work of mission in different contexts. The Mass then was presided over by the Provincial with the commissioning. Each participant received a logo of the VLMMHR and a candle as signs of their commitment. At night, they gathered around Our Lady of La Vang and recited the Rosary together. The next day, the concluding Mass took place with other local parishioners. All participants returned to their communities with joy and hope. They wish to meet again at the next gathering. May God bless the VLMMHR!
Augustine Pham Van Khai,
Media Team of Redemptorist Lay Mission in the North of Vietnam
Translated by Anthony Nam Nguyen