On-going formation workshop for young Jesuit priests of Vietnam Province was held at Dalat Diocese’s Pastoral Center in November 14th-16th. Twenty-three young priests, ordained within the past five years, from different parts of the country joined the course. Fr. Nguyen Hai Tinh, SJ, Assistant for Formation of the Vietnamese Jesuits, led the course.
This was a fairly good opportunity for young priests to break away from work, and enjoyed the nice weather and beautiful landscape of Dalat, one of the most favorite tourist cities of the country. There they spent one day for input, personal prayer, and sharing on the grace, joy, and pain of their priestly lives.
One the second day, keynote speaker – Fr. Hoang Van Tinh, SJ, Pastor at St. Joseph the Carpenter in Dalat, delivered a talk to young priests. His many years expertise as a pastor provided an overview of pastoral ministers and ministries. For him, Jesuit pastors should trust in their vocation and mission as good shepherds (John, ch. 10), and live the spirituality of depth and magis. Fr. Tinh also highlighted the need to make Jesuit parishes in Vietnam more “Jesuit,” and more open to evangelization as Pope Francis addressed in “Evangelii Gaudium.” By the end of the talk, he mentioned situations when difficulties arose and how a pastor should deal with. Exchange of questions and answers followed lively. Then the whole group broke into four small ones to share personal pastoral experiences in the afternoon.
Method of “discernment in common” as a skill to move forward in pastoral ministries was the major theme of the third day. Fr. Nguyen Hai Tinh, who attended GC 36 one year ago, suggested the method, what it is, and how to do it, with real and lively experiences from the Congregation. Spiritual conversation with three steps or rounds was the key in this kind of discernment, which was practiced in the afternoon by small groups.
The three-day workshop ended with evaluation and some suggestions for the next year. Next major theme would be evangelization. And a Jesuit parish now a fort for evangelization for ethnic minority groups in central highland might be the host.
Thanks be to God! The workshop ended helpfully, and happily, too, due to the hospitality of St. Joseph the Carpenter, which received the young priests in the evening with a lovely meal.