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Vietnamese bishops reiterate the challenge of evangelization in families

December 16, 2013 - For Vietnam's bishops, 2014 will be a year dedicated to the "evangelization of family life", a fundamental task at the heart of the pastoral letter the Catholic Bishops' Conference issued at the end of their 12th Plenary Assembly, which coincided with Advent before Christmas. The family "is the first educational centre for children," prelates wrote; it is the cradle where vocations are nurtured, the faith is strengthened and people are trained to become adult, devoted and responsible Christians. Indeed, in a period of great economic, social and cultural changes, the family plays a central and fundamental role in passing on ethical values ​​from parents to children. A quick survey of 120 Catholic parents in Ho Chi Minh City found that "after a hard day's work," only a few families "recited together" evening prayers. However, for the bishops, a moment of silence before going to sleep is "an effective way" to educate children and bring together all members of the family, thus "bringing happiness" to it. They regretted that more and more people are drawn to television, alcohol and food, from movies made in Korea and China, which today "occupy at least 70 per cent of air time" in Vietnam's TV system. For this reason, it is necessary to revitalize the role of the family - which is the pillar for individual growth - with a particular focus on the role of the mother, who plays a crucial role in the educational process and, together with his father, serves as an "example" for children.
In his address, Card Jean- Baptiste Pham Minh Man, Archbishop of Saigon spoke about the family, saying each one must "actively participate in the mission of evangelization" through "prayer and practical action." Parents, the prelate noted, are "responsible" for passing the faith onto their children. They are tasked with "teaching them to pray, love the Word of God and follow the spirit of the Bible." And the best way to do this is "by example". In Ho Chi Minh City, where most residents are Buddhist with a large contingent of atheists and unaffiliated, Catholics are 7 per cent of the population. In view of this, Card Pham Minh Man called on the faithful to turn to "our brothers and sisters" who "do not know Jesus or do not believe in Him." Catholic families, the cardinal concluded, have a "duty" to pass on the love of Jesus to their neighbours, by example within the family. In particular, "we have to show mutual support to non-Catholic families and talk to them about Jesus." (Source: AsiaNews)


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