Vietnam, 12 October 2020 -- The Salesian Cooperators in the Province of Vietnam celebrated their 25th anniversary of foundation [1995-2020] over two days (3-4 October 2020), in the K'Long Salesian Retreat Centre, 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City. Being aware that people in the world are still struggling with the Pandemic the Salesian Cooperators of Vietnam were grateful that they could hold their physical gathering of more than 450 people in a rather large open-air compound where they could still practise social distancing.
The theme of the Congress was in line with the new Strenna given by our Rector Major: Moved by hope: 'See, I am making all things new' (Rev 21:5). It was translated into the Vietnamese context with the three keynote talks given by Brother Dominic Nguyen Duc Nam, ASC World Delegate, Fr Joseph Nguyen Thinh Phuoc, SDB EAO regional councillor and Fr Joseph Nguyen Van Quang, SDB provincial of Vietnam-Mongolia. Each talk focused on one of the main aspects of the Salesian Cooperators’ vocation: Salesian charism, Formation and Opening to the future in the changing world of the young of today.
25 years have passed and the Salesian Cooperators reminded one another of those early days which implied various uncertainties yet also hopes for future growth. Initially as a tiny group with a handful members in one centre, it has grown into 17 local centres with more than 500 active members. They shared with one another how they came to know the Salesian charism, how they grouped together, how they are living their charismatic mission as educators and evangelizers, starting from their own families. Also their more extensive apostolate to circles of people, in particular, the young in their parishes, schools and neighbourhoods was highlighted in group sharing.
Last but not the least, during the Congress 47 new members of the Association of Salesian Cooperators made their promise, coming from various centres. It was also a good chance to introduce the recently elected new Provincial Council (2020-2023) with their new Coordinator: Mr Daminh Vu Quang Ninh, Vice-coordinator: Mr. Roco Le Huu Phuoc, Secretary: Ms. Cecilia Nguyen Thi Tuy Hoa, Administrator: Ms. Maria Nguyen Thi Huyen Chau, Formation: Mr. Joseph Van Thất, Youth Apostolate Ms. Maria Nguyen Thi Hien and Service Councillor: Ms. Maria Vu Thi Nguyet.
While celebrating their Silver Jubilee, there was also a great leap forward: the Vietnamese Salesian Cooperators want to transform their Association into a high level of commitment and attract more and more young people to the Salesian Cooperator Vocation. This is not just for the sake of greater numbers in the Association, but for a more effective service to poor youth in need whom they see every day in every corner of society. The ASC Vietnam are targeting the College Past Pupil groups who are good potential apostles for the young, since they have grown up in Salesian settings and have received a Salesian education in our technical schools, hostels or youth groups. Nearly half of the new 47 members who made the promise in this celebration are rather young. It is clearly a visible sign that the vocation of “Salesians in the world” is very attractive in Vietnam today!