Melbourne (Agenzia Fides) - Thien An Catholic Pastoral Centre was offered as a gift to young Catholic Vietnamese immigrants living in the suburbs of Melbourne from other young Australians.
Thien An in Vietnamese means “gift of God”: the structure, a former clothes factory, is a spacious Pastoral Centre for the education and formation of young Vietnamese. The Centre will host cultural and social events, serve as a place for the youngsters to meet and share opinions, experience and grow according the Christian values.
The Salesian news agency ANS reports that the centre was inaugurated on 22 April in the presence of Fr Frank Moloney, Salesian Inspector for Australia, Sister Margaret Bentley, vicar of the Pacific Region Inspectorate of the Daughters of Mary help of Christians, Mr Anthony Helou, mayor of Moreland district, suburb of Melbourne, at least 600 other people including 200 students.
The project was launched by Vietnamese Salesian Fr Anthony Quang, just appointed parish priest of St Margaret Mary’s parish, with the help of Vietnamese benefactors while in the past four months local volunteers have worked to make the Centre comfortable and functional.
Fr Quang, like many Vietnamese Australians arrived in the country in the 1970s after a dangerous sea voyage and a period in refugee camps. He and a few other priests of Vietnamese origin minister to the Vietnamese Catholic community which is fully inserted in the life of the Catholic community in general and society.
Many Salesians in Australia and the Pacific region are of Vietnamese origin. Fr Quang, assisted in educational activities by Sister Marguerite Nguyen, a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, is the director of Thien An Pastoral Centre.
At present Thien An Centre offers free courses in Maths, English and Vietnamese language to 200 students take. The Centre has earned the admiration and esteem of the local families and civil authorities. It also provides special assistance for disadvantaged youngsters whose families speak only Vietnamese. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 28/4/2007 righe 28 parole 282)