Bishops in Vietnam have called on young Catholics to shun selfishness and share the Gospel with the poor in a spirit of love and peace.
Some 15,000 youths from across northern Vietnam were given this message at annual Youth Day celebrations held last week in Thanh Hoa City, some 150 kilometers south of the capital Hanoi.
The theme for the event was “Put out into deep water and proclaim the Good News.”
Among those present were Cardinal Peter Nguyen Van Nhon of Hanoi, Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam, and 10 other bishops.
Bishop Joseph Nguyen Nang of Phat Diem exhorted young people to reach out to marginalized members of the community.
“You are invited to make the world a great family where all people live in love, peace, justice and solidarity,” Bishop Nang said.
Gospel values needed to be integrated into social activities to bring about positive change.
Bishop Diem stressed the importance of happy marriages as a basis for evangelization.
Participants at the Nov. 21-22 gathering were treated to cultural performances, dances and plays focusing on traditional values, social evils and environmental protection.
Mary Dao Thi Mai from Hung Hoa diocese said the event gave her strength to continue her work at a mission station despite obstacles such as restrictions imposed by government officials.
Different dioceses annually host the youth gathering for northern dioceses, which was initiated by the late Bishop Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Sang of Thai Binh in 2003.
Next year’s event is to be hosted by Hai Phong Diocese.