• Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2000

  • The Minister General's visit to Vietnam

    OFM Provincial Office
    Province of Saint Francis in Vietnam
    Ho Chi Minh City Viet Nam

    1) First Day February 10, 2000
    Fr. Giacomo Bini, OFM Minister General and Fr. Xavier Yu, Definitor General arrived in Ho Chi Minh City at 5:30 in the afternoon of February 10, 2000. They were welcomed at the airport by Fr. Alexis Tran Dùc Hai, Minister provincial, his definitors and 3 guardians of 3 friaries in Ho Chi Minh City. Two Young Franciscan girls in traditional dress offered them flowers to greet the heads of the Order of Friars Minor. At the Provincial House, they were warmly welcomed by about 80 friars coming from many friaries. After a short rest, they took supper with the friars at Dakao friary, in Ho Chi Minh City.

    2) Second Day February 11, 2000

    - Meeting with the Definitory provincial and the guardians :

    In the morning (8:00 - 10:15), at Dakao Friary, the Minister General met with the Definitory provincial and 18 guardians. In his talk, the Minister General emphasized the role of the minister at all levels (general, provincial and local) to animate the Fraternity and recalled the necessity of collaboration between the Definitory provincial and the guardians. He called on the participants of the meeting to build a prophetical Fraternity where everyone seeks God. He also spoke about the necessity of the Franciscan Spirituality and the importance of the initial formation as well as ongoing formation. Moreover, the Minister General stressed on the fundamental elements of the franciscan life : relationship with God, fraternity and missionary openness. After that, at 10:30, the Minister General presided over at the Holy Eucharist. The Definitor General and some twenty priests concelebrated at the Mass which was held at the chapel of Dakao friary.

    - Visit to the Bureau of Religious Affairs :

    In the afternoon (2:15- 2:30), the Minister General and the Definitor General paid a courtesy visit to the Bureau of Religious Affairs in Ho Chi Minh city. They were accompanied by Fr. Alexis Tran Duc Hai, Minister Provincial and his Definitory.


    The Minister General meeting the Bureau of religious affairs
     

    - Visit to the Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh Diocese :

    After the visit to the Bureau of Religious Affairs, the Minister General together with the Definitor General went to the Archbishop House of Ho Chi Minh Diocese to visit Mgr John Baptiste Phaïm Minh Maãn, Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh Diocese. They were cordially received. In the meeting, the Archbishop shared with the Minister General and the Definitor General about the situation of religious life in Vietnam, especially in Ho Chi Minh city, different problems in Vietnamese society such as prostitution, drug addiction, patient with AIDS. The Archbishop also asked the Vietnamese franciscans to contribute to solving them.


    The Minister General, accompanied by Fr. Alexis Fran Duc Hai, Minister Provincial and his Definitory, visting the Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh diocese.
     

    - Visit to San Antonio friary : 5:00 - 7:00 PM

    The third visit of the Minister General and the Definitor General in this day was to San Antonio friary, Ho Chi Minh City, 2 km from Dakao friary, in the middle of a great popular market place. They had dinner with the friars at this friary.


    The Minister General with the Novices
     

    3) Third day February 12, 2000

    7:45 - 8:00 AM
    The Minister General and the Definitor General visited the friars at Thu Duc friary, a peripheral district of Ho Chi Minh City, where is located the post-noviciate formation house. There, they were greeted by all the 59 friars of Thu Duc friary, in their religious habit. Then they went on to the friary chapel to worship the Holy Eucharist with the friars, offering burning joss-sticks at the altar, according to the Vietnamese tradition.


    The Minister General meeting with the friars
     

    8:00- 9:45 AM
    Meeting of the Minister General and the Definitor General with the members of the provincial Definitory and the formators at Thu Duc friary. After the opening prayer led by Br Guy-Marie Nguyen Hong Giao, Secretary for Formation and Studies, each member of the 18 participants introduced himself to Br Giacomo Bini and Br Xavier Yu. Then the Minister General began his talk on 3 topics : the formator's role, the formation crisis today and some challenges. He said the formator is a mediator between the mystery of God and the mystery man, between the young and Saint Francis charism, between the provocations of the world and the formandi and between doctrine (theory) and life (practice). The last mediation is the most difficult. The formator is also an "accompagnateur" who gives a "form" to someone who is in search of an identity. The way Jesus joined the disciples on their way to Emmaus can serve as illustration to how a personal accompaniment must be done. Finally, the formator must be a good team worker and a good listener. The world is passing through a crisis of values. We Franciscans have values to transmit, but to do so we must be authentic and credible. Today the formation task is facing 4 challenges : (1) formation to the experience of God in everyone's life (2) radicality (3) inculturation (4) personalized accompaniment. After Br Giacomo Bini's long and enriching talk, some participants asked questions to deepen the understanding of it. But time for discussions was too short; the Minister had to go to the Poor Clares Monastery at 10:15. So we decided to take up the sharings again in the afternoon.

    10:15-12:00 AM
    The Minister General and the Definitor General had a meeting with the Poor Clares whose Monastery was in front of the Thu Duc Friary. In his talk, the Minister General emphasized the importance of the spirit of contemplation. He also insisted on the need for a renewed formation to the cloistered life : "Formation is necessary for true contemplation". The Minister General presided over at the Holy Eucharist, concelebrated by the Definitor General and other priests at the chapel of the Poor Clares Monastery. After Mass, the Minister General and the Definitor General were invited to take lunch together with the Poor Clares. The lunch ended with a simple program of Vietnamese traditional dances organized by young sisters in formation.


    The Minister General's visit to the Poor Clares
     

    2:15 - 3:00 PM
    Meeting with the Definitory provincial and the formators (continued)
    Br Minister General developed some more ideas about the indispensable and difficult task of personal accompaniment. He said the formators should pass from the accompaniment of the group to the accompaniment of the person. If there are too many persons in the group, perhaps we should give it another structure. How can we form the accompagnateurs themselves ? He said he was aware of the special situation of the Vietnamese Province, but if all friars realize that it is an important priority, the Province will find out appropriate ways to tackle the problem. Another question was that of lay brothers vocation. Br Giacomo commented that the problem of the Order's clericalization is present to all entities, however the Vietnamese Province, like the Korean Province, is well balanced in terms of clerical and lay vocations. In this respect, the formation program of the Province is a good one. But the Province should try to reinvent some new ministries within the limits permitted by the political situation of Vietnam. Br Xavier Yu also intervened to explain the particular situation of his Province and the great effort made by Korean friars as regards this problem.

    3:00- 5:00 PM
    In the afternoon, the Minister General and the Definitor General met with about 70 friars in formation (including aspirants and novices) at Thu Duc friary. In his talk, firstly the Minister General spoke about the characteristics of Saint Francis and the franciscan spirituality.Then, he asked the young friars : "What Saint Francis might say to you today ?" He recalled them to be rooted in the love of Jesus and to have a personal project of life. He also shared his experience of living the franciscan vocation and his missionary work while he was in Africa. Especially, he emphasized how to inculturate the franciscan spirit into the context of every province. Last but not least, the thing on which he insisted, was the necessity of a solid formation through personal accompaniment and strong experience of God. After the talk, the young friars raised some questions relating on contemplative life, formation, mission.


    The Minister General and Definitory General with all friars in formation
     

    6:15 - 7:00 PM
    The Minister General and the Definitor General had dinner with the friars at Thu Duc friary.

    7:15- 8:00 PM
    In the evening (7:15 8:00), the Minister General and the Definitor General had a chance to see a cultural activities presenting Vietnamese songs and dances. The temporary professed friars and novices organized the show.

    4) The fourth day February 13, 2000

    8:00 - 9:00 AM
    In the morning (8:00 9:00), the Minister General and the Definitor General visited the FMM Sisters. In his talk, the Minister General called on the FMM Sisters to continue to work in collaboration with other members of Franciscan family. Then he answered their questions on fraternity, poverty in the Franciscan religious life.

    9:15 - 10:15 AM
    The Minister General and the Definite General met with the brothers and sisters of the Vietnamese SFO at Dakao parish. In his message, the Minister General insisted on 3 main points :
    - consolidating the solidarity among the members of the Franciscan family.
    - Living the spirit of the Lord following the example of Saint Francis in today's context.
    - Caring for SFO young Franciscans, encouraging them to intensify their missionary zeal.
    After that, the SFO brothers and sisters raised some questions on how to develop the SFO in the actual situation of Vietnam. The meeting ended with the Minister General's blessing to all participants.

    10:30 - 11:30 AM
    After a short rest, the Minister General, the Definite General and some 30 priests concelebrated the Mass in Dakao church with the participation of representatives of Vietnamese FMM, SFO.

    11:30 - 12:30 AM
    The Minister General, the Definitor General had lunch at Dakar friary with about 100 friars coming from all friaries of the Province and about 40 religious men and women from different congregations along with benefactors and friends.

    2:00 - 3:00 PM
    The Minister General, the Definitor General Xavier Yu met with all the friars of the Province in the Dakao church. First of all, the Minister General thanked all the friars present for their fully fraternal welcome. The Vietnamese Franciscan Province, he said, was full of life with a big number of young friars. He made it clear that the friars in Vietnam should not be slave of structures. Saint Francis did not want to be slave of structures, on the contrary he wanted to live radically the Gospel. It was necessary to adapt the structures in accordance to the life conditions. For the young friars, he insisted that, they should be accompanied closely in their initial formation. The young friars are the future of the Order.
    Moreover, he mentioned 3 required conditions which would help the Province to grow and develop :
    - The friars in Vietnam should construct their lives in deepness and have a new spirit.
    - The friars should "reinvent" new ministries, new services.
    - The friars should be opened to the world.
    Finally, the Minister General answered the questions posed by the friars on how to construct the life in deepness, how to do pastoral work in the franciscan way and spirit, and how to live out the missionary dimension of the franciscan life.

    4:00 - 5:15 PM
    Meeting with the Definitory provincial at the Provincial House. Firstly, the Minister General expressed his thanks to Fr Alexis Tran Duc Hai, Minister Provincial and his Definitory provincial for welcoming him and his Definitor General, Xavier Yu with hospitality and fraternity. Then, the Minister General, exhorted the Vietnamese franciscan Province to respond to 3 main challenges :
    - Building the unity in diversity
    - Investing more in formation and contemplation
    - Avoiding the growing tendency to individualism.
    On his part, Xavier Yu, the Definitor General also reminded the Vietnamese franciscan friars, especially the young friars to study English. It will enable Provinces of the FCAO to exchange human ressources. Finally, the Minister General, the Definitor General answered questions posed by the Definitor provincial on formation of formators, lay brothers problem and projects of Order.

    6:00 PM
    The Minister General, the Definitor General had dinner together with the friars at Dakao friary.

    7:00 PM
    The Minister General was accompanied to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport by the Minister Provincial and his definitors provincial. He left at 9 PM for Rome.

    10:00 PM
    the Definitor General was accompanied to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport by the Minister Provincial. He left at 12 PM for Korea.

    - NEWS



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