College students attend a spiritual exercise at So Kien Church in Ha Nam province on Aug. 20. (Photo: tonggiaophanhanoi.org)
Students in a northern Vietnamese archdiocese have been urged to cherish traditional values, bear witness to truth and build inner lives in the coming new school year.
Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hanoi said students should study hard and acquire deep knowledge not only to attain high grades and degrees but to become helpful for others. They are responsible for themselves, their families, people in need, society and the Church.
"You should not live for yourselves, but through your studies and future careers you must tend to your parents, love your brothers and sisters, maintain family traditions and moral standards, and make positive contributions to the proclamation of the Good News,” Archbishop Thien said, adding that if they have awareness about those duties on the journey to seek knowledge, they will reap many fruits.
The prelate reminded them about their elderly relatives who never tire of imparting their valuable experience and deep wisdom to younger generations.
Noting that trees grow strong only when they are rooted deep in the ground, he said that people only mature and better themselves when they highly appreciate the elderly, who are treasures of wisdom and experience for young people's success in life.
"Respecting the elderly and sincerely listening to them, you will live more responsibly with God, nature and other people," he said in a letter to local students preparing to start the new academic year that begins on Sept. 5.
"Living the truth is nothing more than being yourself"
Archbishop Thien called on students to "courageously live truly, act truly, and do not shy away from the truth. Living the truth is nothing more than being yourself." They should not be led by deceit to follow the path of injustice, greed and depravity.
The deputy secretary-general of the Vietnam bishops' conference said going to school is a blessing as many children cannot afford to go due to having to work for a living and wandering around with an uncertain future.
“I would like to invite all students and young people to work hard, dream of great things, and the chance of reaching higher positions. When you know how to dream and live for high ideals, you are ready to live out charity in the spirit of the Gospel, give generously and use honesty to deal with deception,” he said.
He said that many people seem to have died because they live in desperation, surrender themselves to the flow of life, and grow insensitive to others' cries for help.
The archbishop asked them to take good care of their inner life by examining their personal lives in the light of God's Word and prayer.
"From now on, please look back at yourself to realize what hardens in you and be touched by your neighbors' suffering, so that once healed you can bring the life of Christ to those who have lost faith and hope," he said.