Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - The Pope's message for the upcoming World Mission Sunday is the focus of a cycle of three webinars organized by the International Secretariat of the Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU), in collaboration with the National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) of Vietnam, for Vietnamese people around the world on the Message of Pope Francis for World Mission Day 2023. This is a first for the Vietnamese Church.
Divided into geographical areas, corresponding to different time zones, the series of webinars began with a first date in July for missionaries and Vietnamese believers in Europe and America; on August 26, it continued with an appointment for the people of Vietnam; The webinar will take place on September 23rd for participants in Australia and Oceania.
About 700 people took part in the second event, which was also attended by Vietnamese living in other countries such as Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Paraguay, Ethiopia and Kenya. Some participants joined as a group from a parish or a novitiate, or even those from missions among indigenous peoples.
Different places in the world, very different life situations. "Every year the Pope's message should be deepened and spread, because it is our treasure", says Father Dinh Anh Nhue Nguyen OFMConv, Secretary General of PMU. "Every year the Pope offers us something current, something new about our mission of evangelization. It would be a shame if this fell on deaf ears or was only translated and published."
The webinar included an introductory speech by the Secretary General of PMU, who presented and commented on the message, as a kind of "working basis" for a reading that places it in the historical context of the time. An additional reading also took place in the light of the synodal path and it is emphasized that this message really represents a "gift" from the Pope to all missionaries who dedicate their lives to the mission. This was followed by the contribution of the Vietnamese National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, who presented the Pope's message based on the concrete situation of the mission and missionary animation and training in Vietnam, also reporting on the activities of the Vietnamese National Direction, which has a young history in that country. The Pontifical Mission Societies have only been active in Vietnam since 2010, and yet the contribution of the Vietnamese people to the mission's fundraising efforts is very generous. The online meeting ended with an exchange between all participants about the mission.
"We are grateful to the Pope for
having accepted our request to publish the message at the beginning of the year, well before World Mission Day", explains Father Nguyen, "this helps the National Directions to prepare their activities and encourages us to organize online webinars and in-person seminars, such as the one that took place a few days ago in Romania and which I personally attended, to deepen all aspects of the message".
In addition to the National Direction of Vietnam, other National Directors at continental, regional or national levels, such as French-speaking Canada, have accepted the invitation to organize online conferences of this type in order to meet the challenges of missionary education and outreach work today. "The webinar is just a tool, but today a very important and effective one to bring people with different linguistic backgrounds together. Beyond the content we deal with, the fact of being together creates community, the exchange creates community," concludes the Secretary General of the PMU. PMU is at the service of the Pope in spreading his message, which is also part of the task of evangelization".(EG) (Agenzia Fides, 16/9/2023)