This year’s Pentecost has marked a new milestone in the history of the spiritual presence in Asia. Taiwan-Vietnam-India province has been split into two: Taiwan on one hand and Vietnam and India on the other.
Taiwan played a major role in establishing the Vietnam community in 2007, but gradually the ties have distended, with our missions very different. India welcomed the Spiritans again in 2010 (47 missionaries worked from 1863 to 1888 at the French countertops in Pondicherry and Chandernagor) and a few years later requested to be attached to Taiwan and in Vietnam. Taiwan continues its missionary, humble, work in a very secularized society and where after twenty years of presence there is still no local spiritual vocation. The spiritual presence in India is still extremely fragile. The government is very closed to any foreign presence, and certainly opposed to missionary presence. The only fellow foreigner who works there has a student visa at the university where he has already chained two masters. Indian vocations, they, are slowly but surely making their appearances. Already 3 priests of orders and a diaconal ordination for view this year, plus 6 young people in training.
In Vietnam, the Holy Spirit blows differently, it continues to send us many and generous young people who take all our energy and make our joy. Our long training does not discourage them… This year, they are 12 aspirants (two years of English), 8 philosophers (2 years), eight novices, seven interns (including six who do their internship at Vietnam, pandemic oblige…), 11 scholastic and 3 brothers to be ordered deacons in the Philippines on July 3 from the first group to start training in 2008, 6 colleagues were ordered priests two months ago, two in Vietnam and four in the Philippines.
The current and future challenges of the Vietnam-India constituency are commensurate with the abundant harvest. On the one hand, we must encourage our young priests (no ad vitam brothers yet) to leave enthusiastically for the mission. On the other hand, we need succession in training (we have been trainers on average for more than ten years…) and we would also like to expand our spiritual presence in both countries. We still don’t have a central home neither Vietnam nor India and our theology house in the Philippines is already too small to welcome all scholastic. A second floor is planned to be built if possible in the fall. As for me, I find myself in the position of superior / servant of these seventy teachers and young people in training, a task that is on the way excited and crucified at the same time. We have to deal with this whole little world and respond to a lot of requests at the time of emails and videoconferences. It encourages me to organize at best to be effective and entrust each one to the Lord. Thank you Europe province for allowing me to live this beautiful missionary adventure for 14 years already.
Fr Frédéric Rossignol CSSp, for Vietnam India group.