2020 Moving School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
“Catholic Youth as a Good Citizen Contributing to Collaboration of Religions and Civil Society for Betterment of the Society in Vietnam”
1. About Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum
- Uniqueness of ALL Forum – Following Pope Francis’ teachings, ALL Forum promotes the spirit of “reaching out” to the marginalized as a Church. In this, three elements are distinguished:
1) Collaborations among diverse-oriented organizations, 2) providing on-going and holistic programs for youth formation on pan-Asian level and 3) promoting “wider ecumenism”. Put it more closely, ALL Forum is based on concretized and praxis-centered collaborations among five partners: social issues-specialized Center for Asian Peace and Solidarity (CAPS), spirituality-centered Fondacio Asia, Indigenous Peoples (IPs) & ecology-focused Jesuit Companion for Indigenous Ministry (JCIM) & Research and Training Center for Religio-cultural Community (RTRC), and IMCS-AP (International Movement of Catholic Students) as a major Catholic student movement in Asia. Secondly, from its close collaborations of the groups, ALL Forum could provide on-going and holistic formation programs for young lay leaders in the whole Asia. Lastly, ALL Forum focuses on Catholics but is not limited to them. It promotes a wider ecumenical, inter-religious and inter-cultural encounter and learning for mutual growth.
- Purposes of ALL Forum and Its Methodology
Young lay leaders working for “social ministries” have played an important role in bridging Church to societies in Asia, but reality of encouraging and empowering them is mostly none except some lay organizations. But their supports have often stopped at a short term or an event-based occasion. Recognizing it deeply, ALL Forum is to provide them with a solid and systematic formation programs for them.
In order to realize the People of God as a genuine local Church of Asia, ALL Forum is committed to training and educating young Church workers about urgent matters in Asia today such as youth, women and girl children, ecology, migrants, Indigenous peoples (IPs) and other marginalized whom Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) has designated as the subjects of “special pastoral concerns” by harnessing the Catholic Social Teachings (CSTs) and “Pastoral Spiral” methodology of FABC. Especially ALL Forum is to provide young lay leaders with a combined program like Asian Youth Academy (AYA)/ Asian Theology Forum (ATF), a “Moving School” for those who cannot afford to join AYA/ATF which has been holding on a national or regional level and Spirituality & Peace-building Pilgrimage in Asia.
As an effective and relevant spiritual formation project for young activists, the AYA/ATF places much emphasis on their religious identity amid the all-things-mixed global world. It also aims to make them what Pope Francis calls “missionary disciples” armed well with strong Christian identity with socio-political awareness, socio-cultural analysis and spiritualties from various religions. Combination of AYA with ATF is to be an intensive and effective tool for “witnessing the Gospel” by developing and strengthening the youth’s Christian identity and deepening their critical idea and knowledge on the society in Asia including the matters of interreligious dialogue, peace-building and working together for common good knowing Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and other religions predominating the largest continent in the world. ALL Forum has done the AYA/ATF for the last 10 years so far.
All the three programs are based on theo-spiritual approach as a contextual doing theology, or “theology of relevance” to Asian peoples and cultures.
2. Moving Schools in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam in 2020
The “Moving School” for young Vietnamese people focuses on Catholic youths fostering their capacity. It seeks ways of dialogue and cooperation between various religions and ethnic groups, especially Buddhism and ethnic religion, including Cao Dai(高臺), Catholicism, Confucianism and Taoism, and offers a place to learn what the Catholic youth can do for common good and betterment of the country. It also puts emphasis on strengthening the Christian identity of young Vietnamese people including young church workers in Vietnam through Church’s social doctrines, especially the documents of the Second Vatican Council and those of Pope Francis.
Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum (ALL Forum) plans to hold a “moving school” in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, in February 2020, followed by the moving schools in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, in August and in Kerala, southern India, in October in the same year. The Ignite the Fire of Love Group (IFLG) as the local host will organize the mobile school in Ho Chi Minh. The main themes of the mobile school include freedom of religion, Catholic youth for the realization of the kingdom of God, Catholics as mature citizens working for the better world, and spirituality getting over materialism, individualism and “globalization of indifference” strongly criticized by Pope Francis.
To achieve this goal, ALL Forum seeks to provide various training programs, especially for young Catholic, to help their leaders become peacemakers. Using Catholic Social Teachings (CSTs) as the main tool, follow faithfully the principles and methods of the Federation of Asian
Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) such as “Methodology from Below”, “Triple Dialogue” and “Pastoral Spiral” that start from specific Asian experiences. As an effective youth formation program, the moving school cares about programs to strengthen the religious identity of Christian youth in the era of “global village,” the time when everything has been being mixed up. On the one hand, however, the program encourages young people to take deep root in the Vietnamese culture and emphasizes the role they can actively serve in society. The following is the general purpose of moving schools.
- Witnessing the Gospel through Interreligious Collaboration for Common Good as Efficient Evangelization Method:
Young lay leaders are invited to learn and become vibrant actors for promoting interfaith harmony led to peace for ethnic groups and the country. Considering the situation of predominant Buddhist or Islamic culture and or political uncertainty, that how Christian young workers could accomplish their evangelizing mission works coupled with “double” tasks has always been a great challenge to them. They have tried hard to show their loyalty to the nation and its people on the one hand. At the same time they also want to protect and develop their Christian identity and faith which leads to a tension sometimes between the Christians and the government or majority Buddhist or Moslem followers. One way to solve the task is to promote interreligious dialogue and cooperation among Christians, followers of other religions and the governments. For this Christian youth should be equipped with a better and deeper knowledge of Christian tradition and the meaning of being a Christian today. We have often witnessed that many young church workers working for social ministries have some knowledge in those fields while little knowledge of the church teachings including Vatican II and FABC which is a serious weakness to overcome. The other is for the youth to be given a new and big picture of socio-cultural situation in their countries so that they could figure out what they have been doing and will do in the future. The following program is for the next year’s moving school.
- Providing a New Vision and Spirit for Lay leaders based on FABC & CSTs: The moving school is a youth forum which will be based on “integral human development” often expressed in the Pope Francis’ documents like Joy of the Gospel(2013), Laudato Si(2015). And the recent papal exhortation titled “Gaudete et Exsultate”(2018). On the other hand, it stresses the “spiritual dimension” in human development by placing more emphasis on respecting local people’s spirituality based on various cultures peculiar in Asia in building their communities where the Spirit of God works. It has a close relationship with practicing interreligious dialogue and collaborations as “dialogue in daily life” suggested by the Vatican document “Dialogue and Proclamation” (1991) which must be “the whole People of God-centered” simply because like what Pope Francis said all the people of God should be “missionary disciples” who live out actual lives at every corner of lives in the world.
- Providing “Asian Theologies and spirituality” based on the Context of specific countries in Asia: The program will encourage lay people to become good church workers and activists by reflecting their concrete lives in the light of the Bible, their concrete lives reflected in the dialogues with the poor, diverse cultures and religions. Therefore, the theologies we mention should be localized and contextualized. It could be a momentum for lay workers to become “contemplative actors” equipped with “praying in action”. It is so that the Church of Asia could get great help from them in her mission. Church workers should work together with theologians, scholars on religions, experts on cultures and many others in various fields, to make Christian theology relevant to the concrete realities in Asia.
Key words or main themes of the 2019 moving school are as follows: Realities in Asia, Asian Churches, Catholic Social Teachings (CSTs), Vatican II, FABC, Evangelizing Mission, Triple dialogue and Interreligious /Intercultural Dialogue and Cooperation, Ecological Sustainability, and Climate Change.
Day 1: Arrival/ Orientation
Day 2: Opening Mass / “Exposure-Immersion” (Field Visit)
Day 3: Workshop 1 – Realities in Asia, Asian Churches, Efforts for sustainability of the Earth and Peoples
“Socio-economic Analysis of the Unsustainability of the Global economy: Extreme gap between the Rich and the Poor esp. in Asia” By Local Speaker
Afternoon session :
“Vatican II and Asian Churches: “Triple Dialogue” and Spirituality on Diversity” By Speaker from ALL Forum
(*** Each session should be followed by group discussions and activities.)
Day 4 : Workshop 2 – Vietnamese Catholics as Good Citizen Working for Integral Human Development and Betterment of the Society in Vietnam
“Catholic Youth as Advocate for Collaboration of Religions and Civil Society for Integral Human Development” By Local Speaker
“Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation among Religions for Common Good” By Local Speaker
Day 5 : Workshop 3 – Pope Francis’ Teachings on Integral Ecology; Vocation and Virtues Responding to God’s Calling & Synthesis
Morning Session :
“Integral Ecology, Vocation and Virtues Responding to God’s Calling in light of Laudato Si and Gaudete et Exsultate” By Speaker from ALL Forum
“Synthesis and Integration of the program” By Ms. Felicia Dian (ALL Forum)
Afternoon Session – Evaluation and Cultural Night
Check materials and photos here