Autor: Brother Simon Thien
Vietnam welcomed 6 French Brothers who came to start Lasallian mission in Vietnam on January 6, 1866. Three days after, on Jan 9, 1866 the Brothers began to run the first school in Sai Gon. The history of Lasallian family in Vietnam faced its most challenge since the end of the war (1975). All Lasallian schools was taken over by the Government. The Brothers slowly grow up by active presence and service of the poor in every single opportunity. By present time, we have 88 Brothers in the District. Among 88 Brothers, nearly 40 Brothers are under 40 years old. The Brothers have 4 schools in which 2 schools providing free education to all students. Aside from school, the Brothers help students by boarding houses in many places where we have a community. There are about 110 lay teachers sharing Lasallian mission with us. Three female Congregations send their Sisters to teach in our school. About 2100 students are now in our schools and boarding houses. About 600 students are given free education.
On December 2019 the De La Salle Brothers of the District of Vietnam gathered in La San Mai Thon for the closing ceremony of the Jubilee Year – commemorating the 300th anniversary of the entry into heaven of our Founder (1719-2019). Bishop Louis Nguyen Anh Tuan, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saigon, a former Lasallian student, came to celebrate this thanksgiving ceremony with the Brothers and Vietnamese Lasallian family.
[…] Throughout this year, the Brothers and Lasallians had several opportunities to recall our Founder’s life in which they have come to reflect on how they can act in making his dream for poor children come true in Vietnam today. Many times, they have been challenged to reflect on questions, such as if the Founder lived in Vietnam today,
how he would he live out his life in response to the educational needs of the poor and of youth in general?
What should be done more or what will be some next steps to make the Lasallian mission in Vietnam an effective response to real educational needs of youth today?
The ceremony started with some communities praying and reflecting on the life events of our Lady. Through this simple activity, Lasallians had time to recall our Founder who lived his life with total devotion to Mother Mary and through her example he invited us to encounter Jesus in daily life. The founder came to learn with Mother Mary to follow Jesus, to consecrate his life to God, to go out to serve others, and we do this in the same way in order to be genuine Lasallians.
[…] At the end of the Mass, on behalf of Brothers in Vietnam, Brother Visitor Joseph Le Van Phuong gave a brief talk to thank all Lasallians who came to celebrate the day, to people who served and prepared everything to enable the ceremony to run smoothly. Particularly, he expressed the District’s gratitude to Lasallians who have generously supported the Brothers in the Lasallian Mission and promotion of vocations. He officially received some of them as District Benefactors and distributed them the Benefactor certificate. Bishop Louis Nguyen Anh Tuan distributed papal blessing certificates to these benefactors on behalf of Brothers
The closing ceremony marks with simple activity outside the Chapel. Logo 300 Jubilee Year is placed in the center, Lasallians stands in circle outside. A small group is selected to push their hand in the Logo which includes Bishop Louis, Brothers, La Salle Sisters, Lasallian Youth, students, teachers. They are together lifting the logo while singing “Honneur a Toi” both in the French and Vietnamese versions.
This activity showed that all Lasallians make one commitment, with one heart and one life to ensure the vitality of Lasallian Mission in Vietnam and together with the International Lasallian Family we commit ourselves to serve more poor children, vulnerable and marginalized people, to make our Lasallian schools always accessible to them.