Archbishop Joseph Nguyễn Năng: “I want to urge you to always remember your purpose, your goals and your desires when you came to the city. In particular, you should join the Catholic associations and parishes in which you live, where you will have the opportunity to support each other, help each other and keep the faith. "
Hồ Chí Minh City (AsiaNews) – As of April 2019, the population of Hồ Chí Minh City was about 9 million people, several million of them immigrants. Among these there are about 600 thousand Catholics. They came to Hồ Chí Minh City from central and northern Vietnam.
On 27 September, the Pastoral Committee for Migration of the Archdiocese of Saigon organized the celebration of the 106th World Migration Day in the parish of St. Paul in the Bình Tân district.
In Vietnam, people are still battling the Covid-19 epidemic following the guidelines of the Ministry of Health. The Day was held over a period of 8 hours (from 13:00 to 21:00) in the parish of Saint Paul. The Message of Pope Francis on the occasion of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees was widely circulated in Vietnamese to 27 dioceses and parishes in Vietnam.
In his Message, Francis invited all the Catholic Churches of the world to recognize the image of Jesus in these migrants. The Holy Father also recalled the tragedy of all those who suffer from uncertainty, abandonment, marginalization and rejection due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recently, on May 5, the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development also published a new guide on Pastoral Guidelines on Domestic Migration to meet the challenge of assisting internal migrants.
Thus, the Pastoral Committee for Migration of the Archdiocese of Saigon celebrated the 106th World Migrant Day in the parish of St. Paul with about 3 thousand people, including groups of children, the elderly, students, workers, religious and 30 major seminarians of St Joseph Seminary of Sài Gòn.
A representative of the St. Joseph Major Seminary in Saigon spoke of the feelings and aspirations of these immigrants who live in parishes, some houses of charity, catechists, participants in catechism courses, choirs and Catholic parish associations. “We are also migrant seminarians from other dioceses who come here to study for the future ministry of the priesthood. We communicate with migrant brothers and sisters in daily prayer. We also learn from Pope Francis' message on the occasion of the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees "." We therefore shared our life of faith among ourselves in the last months of the Covid-19 pandemic and spoke with the Archbishop of Saigon Joseph Nuyễn Năng,
Most young people live in poor families or face very difficult circumstances. They said they came here to look for work, or to study in high schools, universities, or for the vocation of becoming a priest. There were young people who said they came to this city to earn a living for themselves or their families.
However, in reality, these young migrants have faced many difficulties and pressures in their lives. During the time of sharing experiences with each other, some groups said that "our life of faith is in danger".
Some young migrants told Asianews that “we cannot afford to visit our families during the time of the pandemic. We miss our families very much”.
There are groups of young immigrants who have not yet integrated into the culture of the city. They said: “We believe it is very difficult to integrate into the life of the city, because there are too many people and vehicles on the street. This causes air pollution and affects our health. But for this life, we still have to continue this arduous journey. "
Especially during the period of the epidemic, many young migrants had to do all kinds of manual labour to make money and live day after day. So there are also groups of young Catholics who are no longer interested in their "religious life". Their faith has been shaken in these days of family separation.
However, there are also many young migrants who have shown that “During the pandemic there were many opportunities to pray as a family among them. We are able to carry out charitable and social activities to help poor and immigrant children. "
Listening to the views of thousands of young migrants in St. Paul's Church, the Archbishop of Saigon, Joseph Nguyễn Năng, said: “You spoke of your concern. You have moved to the city to find work, study, improve and earn money. All these are good and justified reasons ".
"For this - he added - I want to urge you to always remember your purpose, your goals and your desires when you came to the city. In particular, you should join Catholic associations and parishes in the city in which you live, where you will have the opportunity to support each other, help each other and keep the faith".