As a Spiritan (member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit), it is my duty and my joy to to make the Holy Spirit known in our Church in which many people know better who Jesus is or who his Father is. The Holy Spirit, indeed, remains for many people Someone mysterious. Yet there is much to be said about his presence in the Church. He is the source of Wisdom; He helps us to make choices, makes us courageous in difficulties, teaches us to say no to what is not God's will, makes us strong to love... I have already given retreats many times on the Holy Spirit. This time it was with my six novices that we had this theme during the retreat I gave them at the Salesians' house in K'Long. The place was beautiful and the climate very pleasant.
After this spiritual break, we celebrated the New Year in a meaningful way by visiting two of the families of the novices in Dalat and Nha Trang as well as other communities and families along the way, along the coast from Nha Trang to Saigon via Vung Tau. Eight days of visiting in the joy and good humour so typical of the Vietnamese. We were still watching the news coming from China but being with the locals rather than the tourists, we were not overly stressed.
As I write, on the 14th day of the new year, the situation still seems to be objectively under control but people are already much more stressed than before, especially in Saigon (45km away from us), where restaurants, department stores, the airport and other usually busy places are deserted. The city is running at, say, 40% of its usual pace. The schools and universities that were supposed to resume after the Tet holidays a week ago are still closed for at least one week. But more than worrying about our own fate, we are thinking above all of the Chinese populations terribly affected by the situation, in terms of health care, psychological stress and economical disaster. Let us hope that concrete solutions will be found quickly, even if for the moment there seems to be little hope of a rapid stabilisation of the situation.