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Clergy ‘should follow Jesus' example

Readers of Catholic weekly give their ideas on the future of the local Church

Clergy ‘should follow Jesus' example
Priests expected to give loving care to people in need reporter, Ho Chi Minh City

August 31, 2011

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Catholics want their priests to lead a simple and good life, educate and give tender care to people as a way of building a church of communion and participation, according to readers of a Catholic weekly. “People have great respect and regard for priests who are chaste and decent,” Pham Nguyen Phu Quy from Ho Chi Minh City said. “They are not interested in priests who live a life of luxury, travel in expensive cars, waste money and hold parties.” Quy said priests should follow the shining example of Jesus who lived in poverty and cared about the needs and happiness of people. Quy was one of many readers who contributed ideas on how to make the Church in Vietnam a church of communion and participation in the August 26-September 1 issue of the government-sanctioned Cong Giao va Dan Toc (Catholicism and Nation) weekly. The Ho Chi Minh City-based publication asked its readers for their views after Vietnamese bishops expressed their visions of the Church in the future. Minh Hong from Xuan Loc diocese complained that it is currently hard to have direct contact with priests as they spend little time working with parishioners. “Priests should spend much more time dealing with parish tasks, or entrusting work to parish council members,” the reader suggested. Some readers said priests should make regular visits to share joys and sorrows with parishioners in order to encourage people to live a good life and foster solidarity among communities. Priests also should provide material and spiritual support and pastoral care for the poor, the marginalized and migrant workers. Another reader wanted priests to deliver short homilies and give practical advice on how to live out God’s Word. “Many give long, boring homilies that put people off going to church,” he noted. Priests should give young people opportunities to take part in pastoral activities or in the management of parish affairs as a way of attracting them to the Church, he added. Catholic weekly marks 35th anniversary
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