VIETNAM – New “men of the peripheries” in the Church of Vietnam
Deacons are “gatherers in the Lord’s rice field”, Samaritans, prophets, pastors at the service of the ecclesial community in the Asian country. The gift of 61 new deacons revitalizes the Catholic Church in Vietnam: in March several Vietnamese Catholic communities welcomed new ministers of God, defining them as “servants of evangelization”, called to an “outgoing mission” to be “men from the existential peripheries”, and get closer to the poorest and most vulnerable, to the wounded and suffering humanity.
On March 28, Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang, at the head of the archdiocese of Hochiminh, presided at the ordination Mass for 18 new deacons in the monastery of St. Joseph in Saigon. The Prelate in his homily said: “Deacons are primarily the servants of the altar and assistants to the priesthood in the Church, heralds of the Gospel and promoters of charity. These ministries require the chosen people to be salt and light for the earthly world”.
Underlining the ministry of preaching the gospel, Archbishop Nang reiterated to the 18 candidates: “You preach the Word of God to nourish the faith of God’s people. In order to have a good preparation for preaching, you must pray to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit and understand what God wants to say to his people, do not tell the stories you like. This is why you will have to meditate and deepen the daily Gospel carefully, let the Word of God penetrate your heart, and let the Word of the Lord question you”.
In the solemn commemoration of St. Joseph, on March 19, 2022, the patron saint of the Church of Vietnam, three dioceses of Thanh Hoa, Hue and Danang solemnly celebrated the mass dedicated to the saint and, in the celebration, welcomed new deacons entrusting them to the protection and Providence of St. Joseph: The faithful prayed so that the new ministers carry out their task in obedience to God and in humility like St. Joseph.
In the mass, the two salient features of St. Joseph, defined as “The Righteous” and “The Intercessor”, were mentioned by Bishop Joseph Dang Duc Ngan: “The Righteous” is “the one who belongs totally to God, is to Him closely linked in silence and obedience, he always carries out God’s will with a spirit of modesty and trust in God”. And as “Intercessor”, the Bishop remarked, his intercession with God is always effective, so that not only the faithful, but also the other saints in the Church, always implore him, in particular, to relieve the poor and those who are in difficulty not only in normal life but also in spiritual life “. (…)