Rach Vop (Vietnam). On 11 and 12 November 2023, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Educating Communities of the three Communities of Tam Hà – Saint Joseph, Sacred Heart, and Mary Assumption, of the Province of Mary Help of Christians (VTN) – lived an experience of missionary synodality in the Parish of Rach Vop, land of evangelization, sharing what they gathered in the missionary month.
This missionary experience was inspired by the Concluding Document of the first Session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and organized by Sister Marta Hoàng Thị Thúy, Animator of Saint Joseph Community, in collaboration with the three Communities.
Starting from the afternoon of the 11th and arriving at the parish of Rach Vop at dawn of the 12th, the FMA and other members of the Educating Communities were welcomed by the parish priest, Fr. Giovanni Battista Truong Thanh Cong. They divided into different groups, and with boats they went to pick up about 350 catechumens, accompanying them from their homes to the parish church. After a time of preparation, they participated fervently in the Eucharistic celebration.
They then had a brief meeting with the missionary group and then divided into ten classes for catechesis. In the meantime, the parish priest explained to the FMA and the other members of the group how the mission was carried out in Rach Vop, a location in southern Vietnam of recent Christian evangelization.
At the end of the catechesis, the catechumens received the gifts brought by the missionaries and were taken back with the boats to their homes. At the end of the day, together with the parish priest and catechists, the group gathered in church for Eucharistic Adoration.
The experience carried out in missionary synodality in the Parish of Rach Vop left a good resonance in the participants, as an FMA shared:
“Here, catechumens are the protagonists. They are the ones who invite and welcome each other and they actively participate in all the liturgical activities. Gifts, simple fruits of their garden such as bananas, papayas, etc. are offered to God, like the sincere hearts of the poor. Here, in a remote land, I see with my own eyes the life of a growing community, gathered by the Holy Spirit, who inspires the catechumens to evangelize in their turn.
The Word of God and the Eucharist are the nourishment of the community. The Parish Priest takes care of everything, patiently guiding with kindness and care, with a mother’s heart, aware of the shortcomings to be filled. What I see here helps me to convince myself more and more that it is necessary to speak of God with the language of life, near, and with goodness. A vast field of mission opens before my eyes…”.
Missionary synodality is also the second priority choice of General Chapter 24, which animates the FMA and the Educating Communities to be “Mornese outgoing”, courageously redesigning the physical and organizational structures at the service of the mission and the vitality of the Charism.