Ho Chi Minh City – Fr. Felicks teaches Basic English to the initiation students in our house, to the students at the Franciscan Missionary sisters(FMM) and to some students of Benhai Church. An English Academy program was organized to hone and show off English speaking skills and singing English songs. Altogether 25 students participated in the English Academy. The judges were Br. Hoang, SdC; Sr. Vy, FMM and Mrs. Judith who is originally from the Philippines. Our Initiation students benefited from the program because it was the first one organized in our community to display their speaking and singing talents. The students who performed well received gifts. The event ended with a small agape meal and time of sharing.
Ho Chi Minh City – Guanellian Sisters, Sr. Victoria and Sr. Malini, accompanied Fr. Rathinam on his canonical visit. They stayed in our community in order to visit some missionary sisters and get some idea of how they can start their own community in Vietnam. On the final day of their visit, we went on pilgrimage to Mount Vung Tàu, about 100kms from Ho Chi Minh City. A statue called Christ the King of Vũng Tàu stands 32 meters (105 ft) high on the top of 170 meters (558 ft) Nho Mount in Vũng Tàu with Jesus extending his 18.3 meter (60 ft) long arms. The nearby Mount also has a big statue of Mother Mary. We prayed to Christ the King and Mother Mary for the success of the 20th General Chapter.
Ho Chi Minh City – Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, arrived in Vietnam for his canonical visit on June 20th. His presence was very uplifting for the students. An official community meeting was held and Fr. Soosai also spoke to each confrere in the community individually, encouraging them to be a witness of Christ in the present world. We had a wonderful time during his visit. He departed for the Philippines on June 26th.
Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnamese New Year is a special day for all the people of Vietnam. It is interesting to notice how Vietnamese people give respect to the elderly and get blessings from them. The Servants of Charity celebrated Mass for the elderly poor people and gave them lucky money to help with their needs.
Fr. Felicks visited the family of Br. Khiet bringing greetings for the New Year. Fr. Felicks received special blessings from his grandfather who is more than 85 years old.
Saigon – Starting the 100th Anniversary of the Death of our Founder, we were filled with joy to celebrate the Feast of St. Guanella with the children of unwed mothers. Every city has its beauty and its dirtiness. The impact of the culture can be seen very well in Ho Chi Minh City. Thus it has its beauty on one side and moral laxity on the other. The local congregation does its best to encounter the consequences of this dirtiness. For the Feast of St. Guanella we went to a house run by the local sisters who care for unwed mothers and their children. Over time, most of the children become orphans because the mothers abandon the children in the house and completely disappear. We had lunch and cake with the children. Beginning this year, each week we will go there to help them clean the house and entertain the children on Sundays. May St. Guanella pray for our mission in Vietnam.
Saigon – The government hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City do not have enough beds for people who are poor. In some hospitals two patients share a single bed. In one small room meant for five patients, there are more than ten. Most poor families cannot give adequate treatment to their beloved elderly. There are cases of families abandoning their beloved ones in the hospitals and the patient becomes an ‘orphan.’ Some of these people are brought to a center called ‘Nha Co,’ where the Servants of Charity serve on Sundays. Most of these patients are in their final stage of sickness and die very early; and some people survive for a long time; some even ask Br. Ngoc for Baptism. Br. Ngoc informs the priests and on Sundays baptism is given to people who desire it. Fr. Felicks calls this “Baptism on the Death Bed.” It is certainly a grace from God. An old man he recently baptized could hardly hear what was being said and did not respond during the baptism rituals. He only looked at Fr. Felicks with amazement and smiled a little. It was a moment of grace for him.