Thursday, 14 November 2019 10:09

Following in the Footsteps of Father Eymard

In his great retreat in Rome, Eymard reflected: “By my eucharistic vocation, I am attached to the service of the very Person of our Lord Jesus Christ through my religious state” (February 21, 1865, First Meditation). By being attached to the service of the Person of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, he was honored as an apostle of the Eucharist. Moreover, he encouraged others to follow him to become apostles of the Eucharist to “live the mystery of the Eucharist fully and to make known its meaning” to people in today’s world (RL 1).

Following Eymard’s footsteps, the newly ordained deacons and priests are prepared for their Eucharistic mission. These young men are full of strength, energy, enthusiasm, knowledge, and an inner life of prayer. They come from different backgrounds, yet they share one mission for the Eucharist, which was inspired by Eymard.

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The Eucharistic celebration of ordination was on Monday, 7 October 2019 at Khiet Tam parish, Thu Duc District, Viet Nam. The presider was Bishop Joseph Dang Van Ngan from Da Nang Diocese. Members of different branches of the Eymardian family were present. Priests, religious men and women, families, relatives, friends and generous benefactors of candidates also attended to pray for them. The Mass took place in a solemn and prayerful atmosphere.

In recent years the Province of Vietnamese Martyrs has trained many religious, contributing significantly to the local mission of the Congregation in Viet Nam such as the Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament, the migrant mission, preaching of the Eucharist, reaching out to distant places. In addition, members of the province have undertaken further studies in Australia, Italy, and the USA and contributed to the international mission of the Congregation.

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The Province is young yet keeps growing in numbers. The entrance test to aspirancy is held twice a year, in January and July, attracting young men from across the country. At present, there are about 50 aspirants, 15 postulants, 15 novices and 55 scholastics. Each year, between five and seven brothers finish their initial formation. Depending on their abilities, they are assigned to various local communities, further study or to serve the international mission.

While rich in numbers, the Province is aware of the need for its young religious to develop a deep and authentic understanding of their eucharistic vocation. Limited access to Congregation documents in their native language, differences in family backgrounds and social-political circumstance are ongoing challenges. Nevertheless, the Superior, his council and formation team provide a complete formation program to ensure a balanced growth of each religious in knowledge, wellbeing and spiritual life. With such preparation, the Province is looking forward to seeing its development in numbers and in quality so that it can fulfill its Eucharistic mission in the midst of the challenges of the contemporary world.

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May our Eucharistic Lord, through the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Peter Julian Eymard, help the newly ordained faithful and enthusiastic in pursuing their mission “to respond to the hungers of the human family with the riches of God’s love manifested in the Eucharist” (RL 3).

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Father Martin Phuc, sss