Updated: September 02, 2021 09:17 AM GMT
Young Vietnamese Catholics attend a prayer gathering in March in Ha Nam province. (Photo courtesy of tonggiaophanhanoi.org)
Students in Vietnam’s capital are urged to learn love and humility from Jesus and become devoted to bringing happiness to other people in their environment including social media.
Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hanoi said youth is a precious blessing given by God, so students should learn, love and proclaim Christ in the new school year that will face challenges caused by Covid-19.
He said young people today gain a lot of knowledge through modern digital means, but they should "learn from Jesus as all wisdom comes from the Lord."
They should learn how to admit their mistakes, be meek and patient, let go of themselves and love people. When they humble themselves, they learn many things, do not disappoint themselves and fear to fail but discover God's will through events. They rely on the Jesus for inner peace and discernment.
"Studying with Master Jesus like that, you will find out the Father's will is the reason for your life when you commit yourselves to serving and loving others," Archbishop Thien said in his letter to local students who will start their new school year this month.
The 61-year-old prelate said that only when their hearts are filled with love can they find true meanings in life to go ahead. "Only with love will you take initiatives to weave the web of life that embraces humanity."
The cry of the poor is Jesus' call urging you to embrace them, step into their life to sympathize and share
The archbishop, who serves as vice secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam, asked if they have ever lived too quickly to give their hearts a chance to go out to people in miserable conditions.
"The cry of the poor is Jesus' call urging you to embrace them, step into their life to sympathize and share," he said.
He said the Covid-19 outbreak prevents people from physical contact but binds them together in a kindred spirit. They maintain social distance but do not keep far away from others and do not let the pandemic divide their love.
"Love, sacrifice and compassion in young people must be shown in the face of the wounds and miseries of others. In the most desperate times, hope is the inner strength of hearts of love," he said.
Archbishop Thien said living in a world full of changes in science and technology requires youths to stay awake.
“You should know how to control yourself so that technology could not obstruct you but is a means to help you learn to live wisely, think deeply and express love. Do not let social media lose your true attraction to God. You need to increase connection, interaction and conversation with friend Jesus,” he said.
Noting that few young people talk about Jesus to their friends despite sharing numerous stories about idols and events, he urged them to take part in evangelization by studying the Scriptures and catechism to tell others about Jesus' story via social media.
"I believe that with your initiative and enthusiasm, you will bring God to many people in a close way, just as God loves and remains with them," Archbishop Thien said.
He said the concept of "citizens of the Kingdom" does not alienate Christians from their homeland. On the contrary, the faithful have the duty to stick to their homeland's destiny, to make the Gospel fragrant in their social environment.
"I fully expect that you both feel the presence of God through the local Church's concern and enthusiastically introduce your friends Christ who is alive and present among us," he said.
Please long for noble things because you are born for great things — profound inner freedom and true love that can make your life worth living happily
Vietnam’s bishops are expected to call on local people to walk with youths in the Church and society in 2022.
"Please long for noble things because you are born for great things — profound inner freedom and true love that can make your life worth living happily," the archbishop concluded.
Archbishop Thien, rector of Martyr Peter Le Tuy Institute of Theology that trains local religious, said he cancelled the Sept. 6 opening ceremony of the institute’s first new academic year due to Covid measures. Students will attend courses starting on Sept. 7 at the institute established in March.
All schools in Hanoi city will start the new school year on Sept. 6 and offer online courses to fight the pandemic.
The archdiocese has suspended all religious activities since May.