Photo above by Dung Do from Vietnamese Catholic Community
written by Victoria Phan
The 4th August marked the fourth and final Bishop’s Catechesis for 2018, and saw approximately 120 young and enthusiastic Catholics gathered at the Vietnamese Catholic Community Centre.
The Saturday evening commenced with a special blessing of the Vietnamese community’s new statue by Bishop Don Sproxton. The statue commemorated the 30th year anniversary since the canonisation of 117 Vietnamese martyrs in 1988 by Pope John Paul II. The blessing was then followed by Mass celebrated by Bishop Don. After a very generous spread of refreshments post Mass; stomachs were full, but minds were ready and open for the Bishop’s talk.
The Bishop’s Catechesis titled, Can I be a Saint? tied harmoniously with this year’s theme for the Year of Youth; to ‘open new horizons for spreading joy’. For this very relevant topic for young Catholics of today, Bishop Don referred to the Holy Father, Pope Francis’ Exhortation on Holiness.
Photos by Dong Do from Vietnamese Catholic Community
He opened his talk with a beautiful story of young 4-year-old Louise, who he met 45 years ago at St. John of God Hospital. Despite having a brain tumour and hospitalised, she was always happy and radiant. Louise was never informed that she was dying, or that she could be baptised – and yet, one day she asked to be baptised… in order to be close to Jesus.
Her powerful story portrays the powerful attraction of Jesus who draws all towards him, no matter what age or health. Through his unforgettable experience, Bishop Don reminded the young Catholics that while Jesus is constantly drawing all to him, the heart needs to be willing and open to Him.
He continued to explain that everyone is called to the likeness of Christ at Baptism, and then it is up to the individual to seek and turn to God and be open to Him. This is the essence of Holiness – everyone is called to grow in the likeness of Christ for it is the fruit of and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Bishop Don drew attention to seeking holiness in everyday walks of life – in the ‘everyday’ person. For example, in married couples who display holiness through their commitment to one another. He continued to explain the Holy’s Father call for young Catholics to reflect aspects of the Gospel in their lives, and what better resource to look for than The Beatitudes?
The Q&A segment followed, where the Bishop answered questions including, Can a non-Catholic person become a saint? Which saint inspires you? How do you stay motivated to be Holy? and Will we see God in Heaven?
The evening closed with a reflection which encouraged those present to really question themselves, can they be saints? At a very basic level, a saint is someone who has gone to Heaven. Furthermore, anyone who has been saved, and made holy by Christ’s death. Therefore, in order to become a saint, there is no need to await beatification – or ten or twenty or a hundred years. If there is repent and trust in Christ, that is a saint of God today! The two kinds of people on earth right now are saints, and then there are saints. None in the middle, no in-betweeners. So choose, which one are you?
A special thank you to Catholic Youth Ministry for planning this event, as well as all the leaders and volunteers of the Vietnamese Catholic Community for hosting and assisting with the evening. For those who missed out, there are still a plethora of exciting events coming up this year – including The Year of Youth Commissioning Mass, the “Why Be Catholic” conference, “Embrace the Grace” Youth Conference camp, and the biggest youth festival – the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in 2019 in Perth!
For more details and updates, see the CYM Events Page and Facebook page.