Updated: October 10, 2021 01:01 AM GMT
A Catholic woman and her child pray outside a church in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo courtesy of tgpsaigon.net)
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and southern provinces in Vietnam have lifted social distancing, allowing people to go out after four months of staying home, being isolated and separated from relatives and friends, losing jobs and suffering anxiety and fear.
The four-month lockdown is a truly memorable experience for everyone, and the Covid-19 pandemic has changed various activities in people's lives and the whole of society.
Today, people step out a new person after four months of having struggled to survive in their own houses.
What used to be habits and traditions have changed. From shopping in marketplaces to studying, meetings and seminars — all rely on technology during the social distancing period. All meetings, learning, shopping and visits are now online.
We already see the major benefits of applying information technology to daily activities with utilities that have been enjoyed by both society and families for the past four months. In many cases, we also realize that online culture still has obvious shortcomings and is just a temporary solution.
So, what will happen after the lockdown?
For Christians, experiences during the lockdown are good opportunities to see the value of faith in God, who is the ultimate goal, hope and refuge
The first answer is to quickly master practical skills in applying and exploiting technology in daily work and life to enjoy all the comfort and convenience of time, money and health because this is the general trend of the era 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution. From farmers going barefoot, we moved forward to access and use production line factories, and today we citizens live in the digital age with useful applications in our daily life and work. Do not let us be left behind in this industrial age.
The next answer to the question is a bleak, dismal picture of Vietnam after the fourth coronavirus surge. All activities were suspended.
People are extremely fearful of being infected with the contagion as many people have died of Covid-19 and countless others have lost jobs, dwellings, loved ones, trust and hope in the future.
Many survivors fled to find a way to live for themselves and their families. Consequently, they are suffering depression and mental problems, becoming unbalanced and having their personal life, families and society disturbed.
That is also the situation of people in Vietnamese society after the lockdown. Is there any solution for the post-lockdown period? The answer depends on who you are: medical workers, government authorities, social workers, businesspeople, employees, workers.
As a Catholic priest, I have some suggestions and solutions for this situation.
First of all, people and all sectors of society need to grasp and practice technology applications in their daily work and duties. That is the growing trend in the world. If not, they will be left behind.
Second, we should not forget important lessons we learned during the pandemic: the lesson of love and compassion, the lesson of frugality, the lesson of living for the community, the lesson of working together to overcome difficulties. They are necessary skills for new people to enter new life after the lockdown.
For Christians, experiences during the lockdown are good opportunities to see the value of faith in God, who is the ultimate goal, hope and refuge — proved by our own experience in the days of blockade.
For priests who occupy a crucial role in leading communities, they also must be new in the way of administration, approach, teaching and even their ways of life
The faithful realize the dire necessity to keep their family safe in prayers and meals at home. We gain deep experience of the value and necessity of attending Sunday Masses that we have been missing and longing for over the past few months.
For priests who occupy a crucial role in leading communities, they also must be new in the way of administration, approach, teaching and even their ways of life since today laypeople — after the lockdown — are already distinctly different.
If we only perform our duties in traditional ways, we risk dropping back in our own parishes. We will fall behind, be out of tune and become people standing on the sidelines of life from the people we are caring for.
Priests are required to open the door, to step forward, to see, to hear, to understand and to sympathize with the faithful so that they can come up with effective solutions and adopt appropriate manners.
Moreover, priests must be more like Jesus when they have the heart, eyes and hands of Christ in themselves in order to see with compassion, to reach out to heal and to accompany people today in their own situations.
Understanding this and doing a lot of careful preparation, we will have a happy ending to the post-lockdown period. May this happy thing soon become a reality in our homeland.
Father Le Van La Vinh is a Dominican priest in Vietnam. 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 on hdgmvietnam.com here.
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