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Vietnam's new deacons told to be devoted servants

'You must be gentle, humble and tender-hearted, and do not shout at and rule over other people,' says Archbishop Nang

Vietnam's new deacons told to be devoted servants

Diaconal ordinands march into Phat Diem Cathedral on April 7. (Photo courtesy of phatdiem.org)

Published: April 11, 2022 10:05 AM GMT

Updated: April 11, 2022 10:29 AM GMT

Transitional deacons in Vietnam’s northern diocese have been urged to preach God’s word and work as faithful servants all their lives.

On April 7, Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang, apostolic administrator of Phat Diem, ordained 11 transitional deacons at Phat Diem Cathedral in Kim Son district of Ninh Binh province. Present at the ceremony were Emeritus Bishop Joseph Nguyen Van Yen, local priests and hundreds of people.

Archbishop Nang said the most important thing for deacons is to preach what they are absolutely convinced of and practice in their daily life. “Preachers are not advertisers who sell products but do not use them. God’s word is not a product,” he underlined.

He said the ambo is used to proclaim the readings, not to advertise nor spread the news from social media. “Never use the ambo to give laypeople news you collect from the internet because they read more than you and tell stories better than you,” he told the ordinands.

“People only need you to preach the word of God to strengthen their faith,” said Archbishop Nang while strongly advising ordinands not to use rude words while they stand on pulpits.

He said preachers have to let God’s word penetrate deep into their blood, hearts, thoughts and life, and tell people what they have experienced. As a result, people will carefully listen to their homilies.

“To serve as a servant, you must be gentle, humble and tender-hearted, and do not shout at and rule over other people"

He said that receiving a diaconate means becoming a servant as Jesus came to serve people as a servant. Deacons serve as devoted servants who work without receiving gifts and money and give out what they have. They should not wish and require people to show gratitude to them.

“You will be ordained priests in the coming six months, but that does not mean you are no longer servants,” he said, adding that the higher positions they hold, the smaller they become.

“To serve as a servant, you must be gentle, humble and tender-hearted, and do not shout at and rule over other people,” he told the new deacons.

He called on the congregation to pray for the local clerics to become God’s real priests who know how to serve people well and win their hearts.

On March 28, Archbishop Nang also ordained 18 transitional deacons for Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese at Notre Dame Cathedral.

This year the Church in Vietnam has had 48 transitional deacons. The Southeast Asian country has no permanent deacons.

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