Catholics in Vietnam are invited to celebrate the upcoming World Mission Sunday by praying the Our Father and reaching out to those in need.
Bishop Matheus Nguyen Van Khoi of Qui Nhon said October is chosen as the month of the mission, starting with the feast of Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus, patron saint of mission lands, including Vietnam.
Bishop Khoi said the highlight of mission month is World Mission Sunday which falls on October 24 of this year. The whole Church unites in prayer and sacrifice for the work of world and local evangelization.
He said it is also an opportunity for Christians to reflect on the evangelistic task they have received in baptism and confirmation, how to carry out this task in various circumstances, and their enthusiasm for the mission so that they can improve the effectiveness of missionary work. .
The prelate said that it was Jesus who taught his disciples how to pray to his Father for the missionary work which he himself initiated with the cooperation of the apostles and of all Christians throughout time. He also taught the apostles a wonderful missionary prayer – the Our Father – which we say every day but often without realizing it.
The head of the Episcopal Commission for the Sacred Arts of the Vietnamese Bishops said that the first part of the Our Father consists of three missionary prayers: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be made on earth as it is in paradise.
Today, thanks to the mercy of God, many parishes have been restored with their old names, and many new parishes have been born from the desolate areas of these days.
Bishop Khoi said that after the reunification of Vietnam in 1975, the Qui Nhon Diocese witnessed a scene of utter desolation: many secular parishes with a significant number of members no longer existed, while d innumerable churches were destroyed or abandoned. Local Catholics have become extremely confused and fearful like widely scattered sheep.
“Be aware of the missionary nature of the Our Father. The late Bishop Paul Huynh Dong Cac called on all parishes, sub-parishes and families to recite the Our Father together at the end of their prayers to pray hard for evangelization in the diocese, ”he said.
“Today, through the mercy of God, many parishes have been restored to their old names, and many new parishes have sprung up from the desolate areas of these days. Many new churches are built in villages, towns and settlements.
However, said the 70-year-old prelate, Catholics in many places still have to practice the faith in secret, cannot regularly attend religious activities and face various issues in their faith life.
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He said that the 177-year-old diocese covering the provinces of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Quang Ngai has a considerable number of people who have not yet known God, which makes missionary work quite difficult.
He called on local Catholics to “maintain their tradition of saying the Our Father in prayer for the work of evangelization in the local church”.
“In particular, on Mission Sunday, please diligently attend Masses, meditate on the Word of God, recite the Rosary and do other acts of piety to pray for evangelism,” he said.
It is also an opportunity for them to learn about the ways of evangelization through group discussions and the reading of books and articles.
They should also make sacrifices by reducing their expenses to offer as many contributions as possible to the missionary funds. “Don’t use the Covid-19 epidemic as an excuse to limit your generosity to funds,” he noted.
Father Joseph Nguyen Huu An of the Diocese of Phan Thiet said that today’s evangelism is primarily aimed at instilling the spirit of the Gospel in people and all human realities, not bringing so many souls as possible to God.
Evangelism is being prepared to think like Christ and believe that the people around us are also our brothers and sisters.
To carry out this supernatural mission, he said, “we do not necessarily go to other geographical areas but take our own living environments as foreign lands and consider the political, economic, cultural and social spheres. like border areas to which the Lord sends us “.
He said the new border areas include cooperation between all parish members, fetal ministry, families and migrant workers, charitable activities and the communication ministry. Evangelization after confinement in the Covid-19 pandemic means providing pastoral care for the sick, orphans and people in need.
The 54-year-old priest said Pope Francis is encouraging Christians to come out of their own comfort zone to reach out to strangers in outlying areas.
The parish priest of Thanh Tam said that it is not only a lifestyle that adapts positively to the trend of globalization, but also a way and a solution for the gospel of Christ be preached more widely and more effectively. Trips to outlying areas anchor precious memories in the hearts of others.
Father An said that many people are moving from their safe areas to the outskirts and fighting against injustices, doubts and illegality. They show the light of the Gospel, of reason, and of righteousness to those who sit in the shadow of death.
“Evangelism is being willing to think like Christ and believe that the people around us are also our brothers and sisters. May his compassionate love touch our hearts and make us all true missionary disciples, ”he said.
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