« SSS Religious: together, faithful witnesses of the eucharistic mission »
'This This is the central theme of the 36th General Chapter, which was held at the provincial house of the Vietnamese Martyrs Province in Thu Duc, from 6 to 24 November 2023. In 2021, during the celebration of the AGC, the choice of Vietnam to host the 36th General Chapter seemed like a dream. There was a lot of curiosity from those who did not know the Asian reality, but also much scepticism on the part of our future hosts. The question frequently raised was: how will this happen?
This doubt, rather than being Cartesian, continued until the capitulars reached Vietnamese soil. From then on, the dream became reality, the “scales” fell and everyone was filled with serenity. Vietnam is a country that is rapidly developing. The host province provided a VIP welcome at all levels. At the airport, a group had charge of welcoming and assisting the capitulars with the formalities of the immigration office. Diplomatic treatment! On leaving the airport, the confreres, looked after by the provincial secretariat in the persons of Father Hieu and Brother Anh, received a warm fraternal welcome and were taken to the provincial house. Everything was organized down to the least detail! Let us note in passing that the General Secretariat, comprising Father Joseph Binh and Ms. Valérie, had carried out enormous work in providing support when it was necessary.
The structure of the provincial house is simply quite imposing! It evoked the admiration and appreciation of all. Just think that all the capitulars and the various confreres responsible for logistical assistance were accommodated in the same house, that is more than 50 people. Besides the grandeur of the structure, I believe that the omnipresence of the SSS insignia struck everyone's attention. No one needs to ask about who owns this house!
The SSS website presented the daily activities of the Chapter. So I do not intend to relate it again, but rather shall speak in a general way about its atmosphere. All the confreres were very glad to have us among them and were always ready to assist us in any way. Moreover, a group of novices came from our novitiate to help during the celebration of the 36th General Chapter. On Saturdays our Mass was animated by the scholastics.
The high level of organization offered by the province was very appreciated, we “raise our hats” to it! A large majority said that it would be very difficult for another province to agree to host the next Chapter! To the Provincial Superior, to the Provincial Council, to the entire provincial system, which certainly involved all the confreres, directly or indirectly, including all the collaborators, who provided succulent dishes, a great applause of gratitude is due for all that has been done!
Finally, the overall atmosphere of the 36th General Chapter was very pleasant. Relations among the capitulars were very good. There was a feeling of communion between them and many forces living outside the Chapter. The closeness shown by the messages received from various milieux of the Church and the Eymardian Family is a sign of this. The experience of this Chapter has been uniquely rich for the Eymardian Family. I believe this is the first time that all four branches of this Family have been able to share together most joyful moments. These were the occasions of visiting the Servitium Christi and the provincial house of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament. It is together that we are truly stronger and more capable of undertaking better our Eucharistic mission.
I would not know how to conclude this account without mentioning the Vietnamese Martyrs Province’s great jubilee of 50 years. The grand celebration, held on the day after the closing of the 36th General Chapter, will remain engraved in the memory of all of us. In some places, on reaching 50, youth declines. In Vietnam we saw almost only young people. I express my wishes for the fecundity and prosperity of vocations and of the Eucharistic mission in the Province!
Father Agostinho Maholele, sss