Two Touching Images from Evangelii Gaudium

Two Touching Images from Evangelii Gaudium

By Teresa Cao Le Huyen

I would like to thank the Organising Committee of ALL Forum for preparing and sharing this helpful program to Vietnamese Youth, especially to me. In my opinion, this program is indispensable. I immediately registered when I received the course’s invitation, one of the reasons is that the course objectives are my current interest. I believe that everybody thinks the same way.

Regarding the presentation on the previous day, about the Evangelii Gaudium Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis – The Joy of the Gospel, there are two pictures that really touched me . The picture of the Church and the other about the economy of exclusion.

The first image of Pope Francis saying that “I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center; which that ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures (n.49). I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security, poor Church for the poor”

When I read the words, I realized that a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because of protecting the poor, because of protecting love, is full of the Holy Spirit and brings to the earth great vitality. This is Jesus Christ on the cross. When I think of this picture, I ask myself: What does Church mean to me? Who is Church? Let us go forth, but who? Leaders in Church, or just for Priests and laity? Some ideas were raised in my mind that from the time when I was baptized, I became a part of the Church, I belong to the Church and the Church is me. When Pope Francis mentioned the Church, it does not mean the entire board of leaders but everyone. It is me and everyone around me. I was called to care about others much more than I do myself, in order to contribute to the development of  the social community. The Church would be more vivid and the World would be lit up if each of us could give more, go forth to offer.

The second image is about the economy of exclusion. “Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”. (no.53)”

This point has raised the very true problem of today’s world, happening in daily life. Humans are so self-centered, self-interested and self-serving so those excluded become the outcast. And I realized that the form of exclusion is getting more and more sophisticated in many respects. Those excluded are not only the poors who sit on the street, begging or selling lottery tickets but also even healthy, rich people in schools, in town, or at home are being discarded in some ways. Someone is being excluded in others’ thoughts, their opinions are ignored in the working environment, someone’s life seems not to exist in the community. I asked myself many times, in my community and my life environment, who is being excluded? Who am I ignoring? What kind of rejection? Could it be exploitation, boycott, outcast, results- oriented than people-oriented? Ignoring by the cold eyes, by the rude words? The picture of excluded people is so pathetic, and it is more pathetic for the one who are excluding others. Human hearts are getting colder and colder, emotionless and even more emotionless.

Through this session, I had a much deeper understanding of my identity – a Christian and by living my life as the ultimate expression of who I really am – let go forth, then, let go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ, knowing God, show love and respect to others.

I appreciated it a lot. May God bless and reward everybody in ALL Forum.

Dive into the Social Dimension of Evangelization with Evangelii Gaudium

Dive into the Social Dimension of Evangelization with Evangelii Gaudium

By Willem L. Turpijn

As a Catholic youth minister, who is also involved in YOUCAT Indonesia; the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium is one of the most amazing Church documents for me. Being involved in YOUCAT Indonesia, which is a youth catechist movement for the entire Church with the spirit of New Evangelization, it compelled me to read this document. And as a companion for young people, I find that Evangelii Gaudium is an interesting, beautiful, and energetic document of the Church, with clear language, easy to digest, yet pumping motivation to animate the spirit of ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ in daily life, as well as in ministry work, in the midst of society and also amidst young people.

It is still very clear in my memory how I got acquainted with this document. Apart from getting it through the translation of the Documentation and Information Department of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference, I also remember very well how I got acquainted with this document at the first YOUCAT International Congress forum in Tagaytay City, Philippines. One of the most highlighted aspect from this document is Pope Francis’ hope that young people can become the “street preachers”, or as in Spanish it is called, Callejeros de la Fe. Not only highlighted in the seminar sessions, but all participants were then sent to the streets in groups to practice how to become the street preachers. Some of us were experienced to draw murals, some were offering prayer through SMS services, some of us were playing a skit about Jesus in the middle of a crowded market, and many other activities. So, obviously this document is very impressive to me.

Evangelii Gaudium is often used by youth ministers like me, while conducting sessions in several cities of Indonesia upon the invitation of the local Diocesan Youth Commission or certain communities.

One of the most important point that I always bring up and emphasise during my session is the title of the document Evangelii Gaudium. I especially the emphasise on the phrase “Joy of the Gospel”, which has an internal nuance, rather than “The Happiness of the Gospel”, which is more external. That is, before proclaiming the Gospel, we must first be filled with the Joy of the Gospel, and that can only happen through our personal relationship with Christ, the Living Gospel.

However, a zoom session with Dr. Paul Hwang, Director of the Asian Lay Leaders Forum really moved me. There is a basic thing that apparently has escaped my attention all this time. Evangelii Gaudium apparently has a deep social nuance. Yes, with Dr. Paul Hwang, my eyes have been progressively opened to the social dimension of evangelism.

Steadily Dr. Paul Hwang helped the participants understand the relationship between one of the most famous documents of the Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes with the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, and then slowly began to introduce the dimensions of the Church’s Social Teaching which were also contained in Evangelii Gaudium, including how Evangelii Gaudium puts emphasis on attention for the poor. It’s like finding a sparkling gem that I’ve never been aware of.

When I was done marveling at how meticulously Dr. Paul Hwang pointed out the content of the Social Teachings of the Church in Evangelii Gaudium, he then presented something extraordinary which had completely missed from my reading of Evangelii Gaudium. This is the concept of Integral Human Development. As far as I know, this phrase, Integral Human Development, began to emerge during the pontificate of Pope Francis. A dicastery was even formed from the reforms of the fusion of several Pontifical Councils (Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, etc.), and later adopted the name Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. That’s all I know.

But with Dr. Paul Hwang this concept was completely dissected. He introduced the person behind the concept of Integral Human Development, who also turned out to be behind Gaudium et Spes, and how this concept has been found in several documents of the Popes, starting with Pope St. Paul VI, Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and finally, Pope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudium. Dr. Paul Hwang’s exposure is indeed very pithy and evocative, which is also closed with four important principles about peace, and how dialogue, especially interreligious dialogue, is a prerequisite for world peace.

I am truly grateful to have gained such valuable insight through this session. I am truly amazed by Evangelii Gaudium and also by Pope Francis who promulgated it. I think this concept of Integral Human Development is truly a breakthrough that the universal Church should strive for as it contributes to form a better world in the future, starting from now. And we, as part of the Church, should not wait for the situation to become an emergency first in order to start, or wait for the initiation of the clergy to start this movement. As part of God’s people who want to present the Kingdom of God in this world, through our daily work and service; of course, we can and must develop, the concept of Integral Human Development By getting involved in society, having dialogue with others, siding with the marginalized and the poor, or through other simple ways. We need to bring about a transformation in this world to realize the presence of Integral Human Development with what we have and with what and who is in around us.

As Pope Francis hopes, let’s move outside, move to the periphery, be brave and be ready to be hurt and get dirty, to meet and be present for them as part of the missionary disciples. Let’s develop the concept of Integral Human Development from now on and forever!

Reflection after joining Online course – Evangeli Gaudium

Reflection after joining Online course – Evangelii Gaudium

By Susana Sitaresmi Kusuma Wardhani

Shalom Asian Lay Leaders Forum, Thank you so much for allowing me to join with your first lecture Joy of the Gospel as a summary of Evangelii Gaudium from our Pope. Your explanations really helped me to understand about my faith and the presence of our Catholic church is not self-centered but reaching out for the poor people.

Your lecture about Evangelii Gaudium taught me the new concepts about integral human development and our church as a field hospital. I see the profound connection between evangelization and human development which much necessarily finds expressions and development in every work of evangelization and encourages all Christians to demonstrate it by their words, attitudes and deeds.

Only after which, we can make dialogue with science, society and have a conversation with other religions and our faith by not opposing them, but by knowing what we should do in our community and our life as a member of the Catholic Church.

Online Course of Encyclical Pope Francis

Online Course of Encyclical Pope Francis

Held by KOMJak Indonesia

ALL Forum Will be organising capacity building online sessions in 2 batches on Major Documents of Pope Francis in the month of July 2021. It will be facilitated by Dr.Paul Hwang especially for Indonesian Youth from KOMJAK and various other Indonesain Youth Movements.

This course will cover the Major Documents of Pope Francis:

1) “Joy of the Gospel” (Evangelli Gaudium, 2013)
2) “Praised be to Lord” (Laudato Si, 2015)
3) “Rejoice and be Glad” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 2018)
4) “All Brothers” (Fratelli Tutti, 2020)