By Vie SC
K’Long, Đức Trọng, Lâm Đồng, Viet Nam, 25 September 2023 -- After the opening ceremonies of the new school year at the Institutes and the catechism year at the parishes, the 2023-2024 year of activities at the Provincial level opened with a meeting for parish priests from the afternoon of 19 September to the afternoon of 21 September, and a meeting of Rectors and Community Leaders from 20-22 September at K'Long Retreat House (Duc Trong, Lam Dong). The two sessions had a joint study day.
The days of training meetings for parish priests opened with reflections on the morning of 20 September on the topic of Pastoral Conversion in parish management, by Father Giuse Ha Dang Dinh, general secretary of the Family Pastoral Committee - Vietnam Council of Catholic Bishops. Based on the Instruction of the Dicastery for The Clergy dated 29 June 2020, the learning topic revolved around the need to change mentality and thinking in parish pastoral ministry. The new mentality must be to expand and have a clear direction of evangelization, overcoming the narrow and conservative way of thinking about people and pastoral subjects, not being too tied to long-standing structures and not accepting the new needs such as immigrants, the poor, catechumens and those who have distanced themselves from the Church. Another thing that needs to be overcome is the clerical attitude that easily seeps into the way of thinking of pastoral workers: the attitude of domination, imposition, and lack of listening, resulting in the inability to understand people and meet the needs of souls.
On the afternoon of 20 September, Father Joseph Nguyen Xuan Quang and Father Peter Nguyen Viet Quang Minh helped deepen the meaning of the Salesian youth movement. Movements and youth groups form spontaneously or are helped to form by the Salesians, to be autonomous. These groups need to be gathered while still maintaining self-governance. They need to be gathered to be formed in youth spirituality and the Salesian method. The discussion also discussed the formation meetings of the Provincial youth ministry for different groups in 2023-2024.
The course continued on 21 September with a joint study session with the Rectors and Heads of the Community about the document: "Salesian Parishes and Churches" (2021). The emphasis is on the unique features of the Salesian parish: the parish is an ecclesial community animated by the Salesian community with the Salesian identity of special pastoral care and concern for young people, according to the Preventive System, across groups. The topic touches on the reality of the living and spiritual structures of Pastoral Councils, Parish Economic Councils, leadership and group animation groups, as well as the reality of groups. The participants were divided into groups to share the reality of expressing the Salesian charism in parishes and the experience of gathering young people in pastoral education activities. On the afternoon of 21 September, they met together and the groups presented to all participants what the group had discussed. In the spirit of Regulation 145, after Vespers on 21 September, the Provincial had a talk with the Rectors about the situation and affairs of the Province.
On the last day, 22 September, the meeting continued in the afternoon, during which the Rectors shared and gave suggestions to the Provincial and the Councillors on many areas to promote the Province. The meeting days ended with evening prayer, everyone said goodbye with a desire to renew the community in its pastoral care for the parish with a new spirit.