WCBCV - Reviewing the 2010 Congress of God's People in Vietnam, Vietnamese Catholics try to practice the recommendations from this big event to renew their spiritual life...
Question (Q). Please tell us the content, purpose and meaning of the Congress of the People of God?
Answer (A). We have to put the Congress of the People of God in the setting of the Jubilee Year 2010. The Catholic Church in Vietnam is celebrating this Jubilee Year on the occasion of 350 years of establishment of the first two Apostolic Vicariates, 50 years of the foundation of the Hierarchy. The Jubilee Year 2010 is an opportunity for the Church in Vietnam to look back at the past in gratitude, at the present in order to discern the situation of the Church, and forward in order to make out future direction.
With the presence of all representatives of the People of God, the Congress is, therefore, an opportunity to identify the state of the Church today and together reflect on future direction of the Church. All aims at no other end than building the Church in conformity with the will of God, and fulfilling the mission of proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom to the people in Vietnam today.
Q. Is this Congress similar to that of 2000, because in the Jubilee Year 2000 there were also views and opinions for the renewal of the Church in Vietnam?
A. Yes, they are similar in the sense that both Jubilees press for the repentance and renewal in the Church, but they differ in that the Jubilee Year 2000 was the Jubilee for the universal Church at the threshold of the new millennium, while this Jubilee of 2010 is only for the Church in Vietnam, with its many particularities.
Q. After this Congress, will there be any follow-up plans and programs for the future?
A. After the Congress, all opinions contributed by the participants will be summed up into proposals. Relying on these proposals, the Vietnamese Bishops’ Conference will prepare the post-Congress document. This document will serve as a foundation for pastoral programs and plans of the Church in the future.
Q. Does the Congress have any message to the People of God?
A. Yes, and it will be made public at the closing day of the Congress.
Q. What do you mean by the People of God? Are Vietnamese Catholics abroad considered members of the People of God? Do they have any representatives to this Congress?
A. At the present, Vietnamese Catholics are living and doing business in many countries in the world and positively taking part in the local Church. Usually, Bishops’ Conference at each country has its own Pastoral Commision for immigrants, including the Vietnamese Catholics. Bishops in charge of the Commission for immigrants in some countries have been invited and will attend this Congress. Besides, there are also representatives of the Vietnamese Catholics from those countries, for example, the priest chairman of the Union of Vietnamese Catholics in the United States.
Q. Why is the Congress held from November 21 to 25, 2010, instead of another time?
A. According the liturgical year, November 24 is the solemnity of the Martyrs in Vietnam. Holding the Congress at this point of time emphasizes the meaning that “the blood of the Martyrs is the seed of Christians”, at the same time urges us to cherish the gift of faith we have received and to earnestly stand witness to it. November 24 also marks the establishment of the Vietnamese Hierarchy. Celebrating the Congress on this day also conveys the desire of the Vietnamese Bishops’ Conference to build the Church in accordance with the will of God.
Q. How does the Congress proceed?
A. The Congress lasts four days. Three principal topics are discussed during the first three days alternately; in the morning the representatives will speak on their assigned topics, while group discussions and sum-ups are in the afternoon. The last day of the Congress is for general summing-up. All opinions will be used for the preparation of the post- Congress document. So, the Congress will fully apply team-work to facilitate and promote the participation of all members of the People of God – through their representatives – to build the Church.
Q. The Congress aims at collecting opinions of all members of the People of God. How has the Organizing Committee managed to do that and how have these information been worked on?
A. All the opinions will be summed up and made into proposals. Depending on these proposals, together with the work paper of the Congress, the Bishops’ Conference will write a so-called post-Congress document, as a basis for future pastoral programs. The Secretariat of the Congress will take charge of this. More concretely, members of the Secretariat will preside over and monitor group discussions and sum up the opinions of each group, then make a general summary for each day. Relying on group discussion sum-ups, together with other speeches, lectures and the minutes of each day of the Congress, the Secretariat will solidify them into proposals to be sent to the Bishops’ Conference for consideration and approval.
Q. What are the results that this Congress hopes to bring to the Church in Vietnam?
A. According the work paper, the Congress expects to open a new direction for the Church in Vietnam in the future, in a country which is changing so rapidly and in a world which is changing even more speedily. The result in sight is that the Congress widely opens the communion in the Church in Vietnam, when all members of the People of God are united in God and have the same concern for the evangelization in Vietnam.
Q. Has the Organizing Committee issued any invitation for all the People of God to take part in this Congress?
A. Right from the beginning of the Jubilee Year 2010, the Organizing Committee has sent to dioceses and religious congregations the lineament The Church in Vietnam: Mystery – Communion – Mission. In many places, this lineament has been widely discussed, studied and opinions have been forwarded to the Organizing Committee. The present Work Paper of the Congress has been made from these opinions. Therefore, the collection of opinions has been carried out from the start of the Jubilee Year, and this Congress is an opportunity for all members of the People of God to express their opinions more widely and profoundly.
Q. Who are the members of the Organizing Committee?
A. The Bishops’ Conference appointed Cardinal Pham Minh Man, Archbishop of Saigon, Chairman of the Organizing Committee. Bishops of My Tho, Phu Cuong, Phan Thiet dioceses are members of the Organizing Committee. The Adjunct bishop of Saigon is the Secretariat’s Chairman.
Q. Who presides over the Congress of the People of God?
A. Each day one region presides over the Congress: the first day, Hanoi, the second day, Saigon and the third day, Hue. The last day, the closing day, will be co- presided over by three regions’ Archbishops.
Q. Which members of the People of God are invited to the Congress?
A. Representatives of all members of the People of God: bishops, priests, religious and faithful.
Q. Has anyone invited to the Congress as Observer?
Q. Who can send their opinions to the Congress? Do the Vietnamese Catholic communities abroad have the right to express their opinions?
A. The Organizing Committee wishes to receive opinions of all Vietnamese Catholics here at home and abroad as well.
Q. Should the opinion-contributors give their names and address?
A. Naturally, so that the Organizing Committee can communicate with them if necessary.
Q. To which webpage are opinions sent, if they are sent through the Internet?
Q. How could those Catholics who live in distant regions, who either have no Internet or are not accustomed to using Internet, send their opinions to the Congress? Can they send through the Post Office? And if so, to what postal address?
A. To : Communication Office
Pastoral Center, HCM Archdiocese
6bis Ton Duc Thang, District I, HCMC.
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