Experience of missionary life

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Peter Thang Van Nguyen, CSSp

The wind is still blowing outside, the rain is getting worse and worse. The late Autumn rains in Manchester always look like the beginning of Winter. A little rain, a little wind, and cold. But it was enough to make the whole afternoon of the late Autumn.

Life and work

In October 2018, I arrived in Manchester to experience missionary work. After almost three months of English and local culture learning, in January 2019, I was sent to serve in Scotland. It took me about four hours to reach the land from England by train. Scotland is a country that is a part of the United Kingdom, including England, North Ireland, and Scotland. In Scotland, I started working at a Catholic High school, with a Spiritans priest working as a school chaplain. I assisted the priest to prepare for mass in the school chapel and I occasionally participated in classes to get to know the students and to learn more about Scottish culture and education as well. In general, the education system in Scotland is quite developed and the government cares for the education, especially in Roman Catholic Schools, students are educated to the values of Christianity. I worked at this school for almost 6 months and then I continued to be sent to serve in a parish near the city center of Scotland. This is a quite large parish, but over the years, the number of parishioners participating in the celebration diminished. However, the parish priest keeps saying mass every day. I stayed in the parish and supported the parish priest for 3 months, Until at the beginning of September 2019. I transferred back to England and posted to work at the Spiritans Youth Pastoral Centre in Manchester.

Joy and Challenging

More than a year of living and working in the United Kingdom has brought me lots of Joy in pastoral work, as well as have got new and useful experiences of missionary life here. The friendliness and courtesy of local people have created a lot of impression for me, especially in the communities where I used to serve. Moreover, the missionary spirit of the Spiritans priests in the UK has inspired and motivated my missionary vocation. Besides, I also realize that there are always challenges waiting for me. The differences in culture and language between British and Vietnamese have created a gap of mutual understanding. This has made it challenges for me to work and communicate with local people. In addition, the differences in cuisine culture and climate have become significant challenges for my missionary life in the UK as well. Yet, I am always aware that challenges and opportunities go together always. And the challenge is a great opportunity for me to learn new things and improve myself.

Finally, as Christmas and the New Year 2020 is near at hand. Wishing you all fathers, brothers and benefactors a peaceful and blessed Christmas and very best wishes for a fabulous New Year 2020.

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