Bangkok, Thailand, Apr 23, 2014 / 19:06 pm
Scores of Catholic migrants from Vietnam gathered across Thailand on Sunday to celebrate Christ's Resurrection with the traditions of their homeland.
In Bangkok, more than 1,500 Vietnamese youth gathered April 20 for Mass in their own language at Chair of St. Peter parish, said by Fr. James Hanh Vu, a Dominican.
"This has been tremendous … and was perhaps the largest gathering for the Vietnamese Catholic youth in Bangkok and the surrounding areas," Fr. Anthony Le Duc, SVD, the city's chaplain for ministry to Vietnamese migrants, told CNA April 22.
"Presently, we have organized a total of 11 groups throughout the Bangkok archdiocese and its surrounding areas," he explained. Each of the groups for Vietnamese expatriates includes between 60 and 300 members.
Speaking of the growth of the bigger groups, Fr. Le Duc added that communication via social media "has been instrumental in organizing various events … and it has resulted in substantive growth of bigger communities."
Thailand's Committee for Vietnamese Migrant Ministry organized 13 days of recollection throughout Lent to prepare Vietnamese youth to celebrate Christ's Resurrection.
Several Vietnamese priests and religious from various religious orders prepared and preached catecheses in Vietnamese for the days of recollection, and the celebration of Easter Sunday marked the culmination of the Lenten spiritual preparations.
Speaking of the importance of Confession, Fr. Le Duc said that "although the Mass was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., a large number of youth had begun arriving at the parish as early as 10 a.m. to make their confessions."
Preaching at the Mass, Fr. Le Duc reminded the Vietnamese youth studying and working in Thailand that the Spirit is urging them to be enthusiastic in their prayer life and in attending Mass.
"No longer can we use the excuse of being too tired from working and studying to pray; nor can we use the reason of not understanding Thai well to excuse ourselves from going to Mass on Sunday," he added.
Fr. Le Duc emphasized that the difficulties, challenges, and suffering we all face are to be borne with faith and hope in the Risen Christ.
"The way of the cross is meant to be traveled; it is not a place to stop and pitch a tent," he exhorted.
Sr. Jacinta Nguyen Minh Tuyet, of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary – an order founded in North Vietnam in 1946 – told CNA that the youth "participate enthusiastically in such gatherings because they were raised to be faithful Catholics in Vietnam … hence they bring this faith with them and are able to be examples of living Catholic faith to the Thais around them."
Peter Do Van Hung, a seminarian of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart, told CNA, "it's a joy to join the Vietnamese Easter celebration in Thailand, and an opportunity to meet the priests and religious, and Vietnamese youth," adding that the reflections given by the priests had "helped us to enter into the spirit of the Easter season and to live out this spirit in our daily life."
"I am extremely happy that the priests and sisters have organized this Easter celebration," Anna Nguyen Thi Hue, one of the attendees at the Mass, told CNA.
"Especially this year, most of us are able to receive Holy Communion because we've had the opportunity to attend various Lenten recollections to prepare for the Resurrection of the Lord."
Nguyen call the atmosphere of the celebration "really joyous," saying, "everyone is truly showing the spirit of this day."