Greetings from Saigon. I am Father Anthony Nam. I belong to the Redemptorist Province of Vietnam. Approximately one hundred years ago, there were 3 Redemptorist missionaries from the Province of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Canada, left their homeland for Vietnam. They arrived in Hue in 1925. Forty years later, the Province of Vietnam was inaugurated. And nearly one hundred years later, Vietnam now has 362 Redemptorists living in 26 communities, 20 dioceses from the North, the Central, to the South.
We have carried out our mission in the following seven apostolic priorities.
- Popular Mission
Preaching Popular Mission was one of the main tasks the Church had given to the Canadian missionaries from the beginning when she invited them to establish the Redemptorist in Vietnam.
Over the past 100 years, Popular Mission has always been considered as the top apostolic priority of the Province.
Therefore, we have been passionately, diligently, and enthusiastically doing Popular Mission. Every year, we carry out 20 Popular Missions comprising of three Mission Teams. Mostly, our missions respond to the needs of the poor parishes.
In such Popular Missions, we promote devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, hearing confessions, teaching catechism, home visits and especially urging sinners to return to God.
Those Parishes who experienced Popular Mission; their Christian life renewed. The people have truly experienced what plentiful Redemption in Christ is all about.
- PROMOTE DEVOTION TO OUR MOTHER OF PERPETUAL HELP
There is the devotion to Mother Of Perpetual Help wherever the Redemptorist missionaries go, because we always want to place all of our religious life and apostolic activities in our Mother’s loving hands.
On the other hand, we believe that our mission’s success first and foremost thanks to the graces of Mary bestowing on missionaries and sinners.
There will always be a grand procession of the Icon prior to the commencement of Popular Mission.
Often the Confraternity of OMPH and Saint Alphonsus is also established during the mission. The members of the confraternity will become our important benefactors and partners in our life and mission.
In every shrine, the Novena is celebrated every Saturday. The people from near and far as well as other dioceses come to the shrines to honor our Mother and for confession.
That’s why the Icon has been placed on the altar of every Catholic family.
Our Mother indeed always walks with her children in our greatest struggles of life. For the poor Vietnamese Catholics, Her Icon is always a loving treasure.
- CONFESSION MINISTRY
We are aware that confession ministry glorifies God and is most beneficial to God’s people. Therefore, we are always zealous in hearing confession and reconciliation.
The purpose of Popular Mission is to lead people to conversion. So, during the mission, we find ways to encourage the faithful to the confessional / and make every effort to make them feel comfortable to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. Therefore, missionaries take turns hearing confessions from morning to night for the entire Popular Mission.
At the Shrines of Our Lady in Hue, Saigon and Hanoi, there are always priests at the confessional on weekdays. The penitents from all walks of life often come to attend the Novena and confession.
The confession ministry brings all of us into this service. Whether young or old, healthy or sick, working or retired, we all participate in this ministry. We believe that our Constitutions urge us to become apostles of repentance, through the confession ministry, leading the faithful to partake fully in the plentiful Redemption of Christ.
- PARISH MINISTRY
Currently, the Province has 45 priests directly in charge of 40 parishes belonging to 18 different dioceses in 3 main regions of the country.
We participate in parish ministry primarily at the request of the local bishops. For the sake of the faithful, they often asked the Redemptorists to establish and minister parishes wherever our communities locate.
Most of the parishes in which we serve are rural parishes; therefore, missionaries who are committed to serving these parishes have to make great sacrifices and efforts to share their lives with the poor, and at the same time help them grow spiritually and physically. Today, most of our parishes are strongly marked by the Redemptorist charism.
In carrying out our parish ministry, we always strive to build the parishes under our care into God’s home where the Lord’s plentiful Redemption is manifested. The most active are parishes in Hue, Saigon, and Hanoi. Today, these parishes are the popular shrines of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, as well as major pastoral centers of the Province and of the Archdioceses of Hue, Saigon, and Hanoi.
- CATECHISM MINISTRY
Catechesis should be considered as a key apostolic activity of the Province. For this is one of the key activities of the Redemptorist mission. There are many catechumens who have received catechesis and baptism in all communities of the Province. In Saigon community alone, there are about 500 newly baptized every year.
In most Communities, there are various types of catechism such as the Sunday schools, marriage preparation, RCIA, Bible studies, and the catechism for the youth are held regularly or in short sessions. In every Popular Mission, teaching catechism is also always a concern.
A special feature is the zeal of all confreres in the exercise of this apostolate, whether good or threatening circumstances, we are always ever ready to talk about God and find new ways to proclaim Good News to people from all walks of life.
Over the past 100 years, catechism ministry has been a dynamic pastoral activity. It has been closely related to the lives of every confrere in our Province. And it has had many remarkable successes.
- SOCIAL MINISTRY
The Redemptorist Charism is preaching the Good News of plentiful Redemption to the poor and the most abandoned. This charism urges us to do many apostolic-charitable activities.
From time to time, social actions will be carried out in different forms and on different scales like; hospital ministry, relief of disaster areas, helping those on the periphery, and victims of social injustice.
We are also strong advocates on the pro-life movement. We have “shelters” or “saint Gerard Homes” to foster the girls with unexpected pregnancies to give birth and to raise their kids.
We also try to alleviate the suffering of thousands of poor ethnic minorities. In addition to charitable activities, we also protect their cultural heritage, especially that of the J’rai people.
Currently, in addition to a number of activities such as free education for poor children, free clinics and regular relief trips to all communities, some young confreres are actively present in apostolic-charitable activities of different scales, society or other Congregations.
- AD GENTES MINISTRY to the non-Catholics and ethnic minorities
In addition to the Popular Mission, the Redemptorists of Vietnam have always considered the Ad Gentes an important task.
During the Popular Missions and Parish ministry, we paid great attention to evangelization. This effort always causes positive effects with a large number of people ready to be baptized.
In Dalat, Fyan Mission Center was established. Its purpose is to proclaim the Good News to the ethnic groups like K’ho, Thai, Nung, Tay, etc.
In the Central, Chau O Mission Center was established to proclaim the Good News to the people in Quang Ngai, a province in the central of Vietnam.
On the Highlands, a Mission Center for the J’rai minority was established. It consists of 3 sub-mission centres: Pleikly, Cheo Reo and Pleichoét. These 3 centres are in charge of evangelizing the J’rai people.
In the South, a Mission Center was established in Can Gio Island which belongs to the Archdiocese of Saigon.
In the North, the community of Na Phac undertakes missions for the ethnic groups in the mountainous areas of Cao Bang – Lang Son.
Thus, the Redemptorist of Vietnam has established mission centers throughout the country. And these mission centers have new approaches, vibrant and magnificent quality. And we are always looking for new places and new ways to proclaim the Good News under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Redemptorist mission still compels every Vietnamese Redemptorist to go on a mission. And surely that missionary flame will ever shine brighter in the lives of every Redemptorist.
With all these great missions we have carried out in our homeland in Vietnam over the past 100 years, we are strongly convinced that it is none other than the work of Christ.
It is a work born of radical consecrated life, community life, and from the missionary zeal of the confreres in our Province.
May those key elements continue to show in the life of the Redemptorists of Vietnam so that the charism and mission of the Redemptorist will continue to shine forth on the wounded people in Vietnam and around the world.