Young people in Vietnam should be given more opportunities to foster communion and improve relations with their elders
Maria Nguyen Thi Kim Hong presents her talk at Hanoi Archdiocese’s pre-synod seminar in So Kien Minor Basilica in Ha Nam on Feb. 12. (Photo courtesy of tonggiaophanhanoi.org)
As young people in the Catholic Church, we are tremendously proud to grow up in the love of the Holy Spirit and in the close embrace of the Church. We also recognize how important our duties to the Church are.
However, we do not yet know how to generate profit from the talents God has given us as most of us fail to take on our responsibilities to the Church and society, but it is partly that we receive little attention from priests and religious.
We are raring to find our own ways and solutions so that we can lead a better life and do helpful things for the Church and society. We would like to express our feelings, concerns and wishes to live life to the full.
In this day and age, many youths follow good practice in faith life, diligently attend Mass on weekends and weekdays, join associations and choirs, teach catechism, partake in charitable work and anti-abortion, and visit people in remote areas.
In contrast, others are losing their faith and standing aside from the Church's activities.
Aside from liturgical services and Eucharist adoration, only a few activities for youths are held at local parishes where young people are given no opportunities to foster communion and prayers.
"Many priests, seminarians and sisters are confused about youth ministry and reluctant to interact with youths as they are afraid of wasting time, effort and money"
There is a huge gap between youths and priests and religious. Both have no respect for one another. Many priests, seminarians and sisters are confused about youth ministry and reluctant to interact with youths as they are afraid of wasting time, effort and money. Very few youths attend catechism courses. Consequently, many barely know common prayers, are unwilling to go to church and ready to skip Sunday Mass due to their work, studies and even personal pleasures.
In many cases, they come to evil spirits as solutions to deal with their problems.
Pastoral activities done by the local Church are of no interest to youths, and there were no activities for youths during the past two years during the Covid-19 pandemic. Youths are given few opportunities to give their own opinions and make decisions on pastoral activities.
We see that many parents attach most importance to economic activities and ignore their children's spiritual life. Interaction and conversation between parents and children are, therefore, becoming increasingly limited, leading to negative consequences.
Many parents today run after digital technologies and force their children to study round the clock and make as much money as possible, rather than encouraging them to go to church and attend catechism courses.
Youths face domestic violence, separation from their families and increasing marriage breakdown.
In social relationships, many youths dare not reveal their Christian identity in giving public profiles and biodata. They fail to make signs of the cross before eating at social occasions joined by followers of other religions.
"We expect priests and religious to pay full attention to us and have close ties with us through regular parish-based pastoral activities"
In addition, they are also subjected to crises by the media, social networks, violence, superstitions, etc.
It is indisputable that many young Catholics suffer discrimination and unfair treatment at workplaces and public schools, and consequently they feel under pressure and stress in life when they have to balance their studies, livelihood and faith practice.
Due to their pure laziness and reliance on their families, more and more people including Catholics do the evils of gambling, drugs, theft and fraudulent trading. More couples are choosing cohabitation that leads to unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
We would like to give our families and the local Church some practical suggestions to help us escape from bad realities, strengthen our faith and live as Christ lived.
Parents should sympathize with their children and reduce their children's pressures by helping them balance their social activities and faith life so that they can show their full potential.
We expect priests and religious to pay full attention to us and have close ties with us through regular parish-based pastoral activities.
We would like to have more direct dialogue with pastors so that they can listen to our voices, really sympathize with our difficulties and challenges, bridge the gap between generations and create opportunities for young generations to grow up in the faith environment.
"We see that priests and religious bring religious vocations into greater prominence than marriage vocations that are really essential and in the majority"
Young people can still learn good things from our idols such as actresses and singers, while some priests and religious take an irreverent attitude to them.
We have the impression that church people deliberately target pastoral care at certain people who are considered docile, gentle and religious. They seem to turn their unwelcome attention to other young people.
We see that priests and religious bring religious vocations into greater prominence than marriage vocations that are really essential and in the majority. So we look forward to attending courses in Christian marriage values and practical knowledge of genders from experts so that we can stay clear of unjustified mistakes in marriage life.
We want to take effective actions and follow inspiring examples rather than general theories about dos and don'ts.
We appreciate the sacrifices and care given by our families and church people who help us realize our duties in the Church and society. Hopefully, our suggestions will be welcomed and noted so that we have high motivation to devote our youth to the Church and society.
* Maria Nguyen Thi Kim Hong is from Hanoi Archdiocese. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News. This article was summarized and translated by a UCA News reporter from a Vietnamese article published by tonggiaophanhanoi.org here.
Unequal Christians of Asian Churches is a new series of features aimed to help us see prejudice and bias that are at work in our Church. They also help us see the struggles of Catholics to live out their faith.
Such features come to you for FREE, but it cost us to produce them.
Share your comments
In a land area of 1,862.28 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the 1st district of Camarines
Lingling, the former name of Yongzhou, is one of two urban districts of Yongzhou City, Hunan
The old diocese of Mylapore was erected by Pope Paul V on Jan. 9, 1606. The vicariate apostolic of Madras was created
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross)...
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of...
The Sacred Heart Cathedral in Yamate of Yokohama is the oldest Catholic Church built in 1862 by...