The Year-end Mass for the Catholic Students

Tết or Vietnamese New Year is one of the most important holidays in Vietnamese culture and tradition. It marks the arrival of spring based on the Lunisolar calendar. To welcome this special event, on 28/01/2018, over 60 members of the Catholic Student Group of Banking University (CSGBU), accompanied by two Jesuit scholastics, celebrated the year-end Mass (in order) to thank God after a half of the school year, and to pray for their home visits and family reunions. The celebration included the Mass, the year-end party, and the examen prayer.

In his homily, Fr. Peter Truong Van Phuc, SJ, presider of the Mass, shared with the students some noble values of humanity relating to the first reading (Dt 18: 15-20). After reflecting on the God’s love, he talked about human responsibilities according to God’s requirements in the second reading (1 Cor 7: 32-35). He then mentioned God’s power of healing for the man with an unclean spirit. “Let us live humbly and become lovable in our daily lives to witness God’s providence,” he gently advised. At the end of the Mass, the students picked up the buds of the Lord’s Word which have been their living mottoes for the whole year. After the Mass was the year-end party, the students enjoyed three delicious dishes cooked by themselves. It can be said that this was a fraternal party because the CSGBU could enjoy many things with each other such as eating, performing dances and songs, and sharing their stories.

The celebration ended with the examen prayer, a serene and profound moment in which each student was invited to recollect the grace of God on his or her life by writing down three God’s gratuitous gifts. They also recalled the unavoidable struggles and suffering in life and in business that they didn’t want to accept by making a list of them and then burning the list in the burning ritual. Finally, all students confided to God about their hopes and dreams for the New Year. After this celebration, the students expressed their deep gratitude to God for gathering them in this Catholic group which is considered “their second family”, and for giving them opportunities to reflect deeply on God and humanity and to learn how to do apostolic works and collaboration in a group. They wish they would go home on Tết safely so that they can do humble and lovable activities for their families as the CSGBU’s slogan: “Connect people to the love of God!”

Văn Đương, SJ

Students picked up the buds of the Lord’s Word

Examen prayer and burning ritual