Jesuit Vietnamese Province: Holding the Province meeting and the Feast Mass of St. Ignatius

Although the General Congregation 36 (GC 36) of the Society of Jesus had closed in November 12, 2016, the supreme government with its decrees has kept affecting on Jesuit life and mission throughout the world. This is the reason why Jesuit Vietnamese Province kept “rowing into the deep” by the 3-day meeting. It was held from July 26 to July 28, 2017 in order to go deeper in understanding the two decrees and applying them to Vietnamese Jesuits’ life.

 

On the 1st day (July 26), Fr. Hung Pham, SJ, a member of GC 36, gave a presentation regarding on the two issued decrees of GC 36. The presentation was divided into 2 sessions: (1) Jesuit life and Mission and (2) Governance. After each session, we were in groups to discuss the materials and share our interior movement. There were secretaries who were responsible for taking note and reporting to all members in common. The 1st day was ended up with clarification questions and Fr. Hung’s summary and final conclusion.

For the sake of renewing the Jesuit governance according to the 2nd decree, Fr. Michael Truong Thanh Tam, SJ started the 2nd day with his topic “Jesuit Governance in general.” In details, it dealt with (1) the overview of Jesuit Governance and (2) the methods of plan-making. It was available that every member could raise questions and his personal thought for clarification and profound understanding on Fr. Tam’s materials.  In the afternoon, after Fr. Peter Truong Van Phuc, SJ, the delegate of Apostolic Work of Vietnamese Province gave a brief look at the 5-year (2016-2020) revised Apostolic Plans, groups of particular ministries took the discussion on the Plans.

On the 3rd day, the document “Policy and Protocol on cases of sexual abuse in pastoral activities” was given by 2 presenters, Fr. Joseph Tran Si Nghi, SJ and Fr. Peter Nguyen Duc Tri, SJ. Moreover, Fr. Joseph Pham Tuan Nghia, SJ gave his speech in terms of “the Guidelines for Local Superiors” & “The relationship between Local Superiors and Work Directors.” At the end of the 3rd day, Fr. Provincial had a talk to all members of the Society of Jesus in Vietnam. He shared his in-coming schedule and informed the two new ministries of the Province.

Each day of the Province meeting was started by the communal prayer in the early morning and a Mass in the late afternoon. Especially, the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus was held soon on July 28.  It was surprising that the Most Reverend Bishop Cosma Hoang Van Dat, SJ, Prelate of Bac Ninh Diocese was present with Vietnam Jesuits. He was the main celebrant in the Mass. As a member of the Society, Bishop Cosma closely shared his thought and feeling to his Jesuit companions.

The Province meeting with the seminars, discussion and sharing, sports and meals was indeed an opportunity for each Jesuit member to be with each other in the last 3 days. As a result, the spiritual brotherhood among us was strengthened. In addition, the meeting was held in July – the Ignatian month enabled us to be conscious of St. Ignatius and his early companions, the founders of the Society of Jesus.

“Gather to be dispersed”, we greeted and then said goodbye after the meeting. It is necessary that during 3 days of the meeting, each of us had a pause, reserved a space for God, and then took the next step going on the service of God.

Jos. Nguyễn Minh Vương, S.J.