The Covid-19 pandemic has driven many Christians away from Masses and pastoral activities in parishes
Mary Nguyen Thi Thu Huong gives her talk to Hanoi Archdiocese’s pre-synod seminar in But Dong Church on April 2. (Photo courtesy of tonggiaophanhanoi.org)
To live out the spirit of Hanoi Archdiocesan Synod: Renewing the faith life, every Catholic family is considered a small house church that needs renewal and change in faith practices.
However, families' faith life is falling under the corrupting influence of the times and needs the Church's directions to be back on track.
The temptations of material wealth and fame are blindingly obvious. People plunge into work and earn as much money as possible to get enjoyment of life, boasting about their extravagant lifestyles on social media.
Many young couples choose to work round the clock in industrial zones and do long shifts, leaving their children in the care of their grandparents. We are put under the constant pressures of modern life, so we tend to neglect our own faith life and ignore our children's faith education.
Many of us even have the gloomy thought of keeping religion in the heart, not needing to attend services at churches.
The prolonged Covid-19 pandemic has driven many Christians into avoiding Masses and participation in pastoral activities in parishes.
In the digital age, we are largely dependent on smartphones and the internet, being sometimes seduced into reading unwelcome news instead of useful information and religious knowledge
We understand little about Church teachings as we are indolent in studying the religion. As a result, we are not interested in faith practice for a Vietnamese saying goes that “vô tri, bất mộ" meaning that if you know nothing about someone, you could not love them.
In the digital age, we are largely dependent on smartphones and the internet, being sometimes seduced into reading unwelcome news instead of useful information and religious knowledge.
Many parents pay much attention to their children's studies and musical skills at school but disregard children's catechism. Many are not confident about teaching children catechism and leave them to catechists. They take their children to churches and catechism classes on Sundays for peace of mind but they never ask what their children have learned and how they feel about God.
Faith practices of older generations are no longer suitable for the lifestyle of youths who rarely say morning and evening prayers and irregularly attend Eucharistic adoration, go to confession or receive the Eucharist as their parents and grandparents do.
Even worse, some young people live according to atheism since they do not want to be bound by religious rules. Others who marry their spouses from different faiths attend courses in marriage preparation just to please their families and have their wedding celebrations in churches.
To strengthen young couples’ faith, during marriage catechism courses we should be given opportunities to share and voice our opinions about marriage issues facing us rather than have to hear long lectures. Teachers should create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere so that learners could perform well.
We wish to attend retreats and seminars on marriage issues so that we have chances to reawaken our love, gain knowledge of catechism, human values and ways of educating children according to the spirit of Good News.
The local Church should provide young couples with marriage and family counseling services as couples now only turn to parish priests or seek solutions to their problems on social media where unreliable information is rampant.
As husbands and wives, we try our best to demonstrate our firm commitments to being faithful, loving and respecting one another as our marriage relationship is symbolic of Christ's love for the Church
We would like to say night prayers among young families in parishes so as to help us to connect with one another and strongly assist one another in our marriage and faith life.
We would like clerics and religious to walk with and stick up for those who have broken marriages so that they experience Christ's mercy rather than condemnation. Priests and religious should reach out to and teach those who have mixed marriages about Catholic values, Christians' obligations and how to live in harmony with their spouses' religion.
As husbands and wives, we try our best to demonstrate our firm commitments to being faithful, loving and respecting one another as our marriage relationship is symbolic of Christ's love for the Church. St. Paul says: "For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery, but I am talking about Christ and the Church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
As parents, we must be aware of our importance and influence in offering faith education to our children. It is said that children learn by imitating and following adults' behaviors; therefore, the effective way to teach children is to set an inspiring example of loving others, doing charity, praying, learning catechism and reading the Bible.
How can we show God's love to our children when we do not love and forgive one another? Our words sometimes go in one ear and come out from the other, but our children will never forget tender loving care from their parents.
Lovingly tending to children is not only our duty but also our great honor to cooperate with God in taking care of the sprouts that God gives us.
* Mary Nguyen Thi Thu Huong 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.
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