Dear confreres, relatives and friends, Saigon, the 16th of December 2015.
Ten years ago, on the 11th of December 2005, I was ordained priest in the church of Gentinnes (Belgium). The assembly was crowded, with 400 people, including 60 priests. I was moved by the enthousiasm of so many people rejoicing for such event. Ten years is a a good length of time and I am happy of what I did and experienced during this time. Collaborating in the formation of 35 vietnamese seminarians and being involved in many commitments with Vietnamese and foreigners, I feel that my life makes sense. I know it by experience and it is confirmed by the many thanks people say to me for what I am and what I do. The Gospel is relevant, the central message of it, the gift of God himself in Jesus Christ, his only Son, who shared the human condition, the joys and sufferings of so many people, who accepted to die on a cross to prove that love is stronger than evil at the heart of human being, this God who died and rose again, who is mysteriously or obviously present in the life of the believers and non believers, all of this is still worth to be announced as it was ten or 2000 years ago. Of course, there are still questions unanswered. How come that the Gospel I announce to other people do not transform me radically ? Why are they still so many people indifferent to the Good News? How come that the church is often unable to find the right words or attitudes to reach those who are far from the Church or who have never heard about Jesus Christ ? I believe that we should continue to keep this questions in our heart and raise it constantly, not with bitterness but aiming at creating a dynamic that invites us to build bridges between those we meet and God himself.
Ten years of ordination celebrated in our house in the countryside, with 26 members of our congregation and 30 guests. A joyfull and meaningful moment !
I am grateful to God for having chosen me to be a priest. I am also grateful to those who encourage me in my vocation. In Vietnam, we train young Vietnamese men to announce the Gospel all over the world. This year, ten of them are already living abroad, in Africa, Asia and Europe. They sent us news expressing their joys and also their difficulties to adapt to cultures that are totally different from their own. Lonelyness or poor material conditions are challenges they face. Like others before, they learn to know themselves through this effort of inculturation. I hope that those experiences abroad reinforce their trust in Jesus Christ and also that they enjoy their choice of living a consecrated life. Attachment to Christ and personal happiness are linked. The Good news that we announce has to be first of all a good news for ourselves. I wish you a beautiful feast of Christmas. That it may bring you peace and joy and that you may be able to share this peace and joy with those around you, friends or strangers that need also to benefit from that peace and joy. Merry Christmas to all.
Frédéric Rossignol (Cha Hòa)
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