Monday, August 27, 2012

Sending off Eddie Ngô


Dear everyone,

Today, Eddie Ngo, a member of Manna, enters the Jesuit Novitiate in Culver City, CA (For those who were present at Koinonia 2010, it's the place!!) Please keep him in your prayers as Eddie takes the next step in this adventure of discovering and living out his personal vocation. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!!

Let's be united in prayers as well for the 2 upcoming HMV in Trung Tay and Tay Nam. May God bless everyone, the organizers, the attendants, the adults, young adults, youth and children, the grace of openness to let Him transform momently, especially those who are nominated in various roles in the Regional Coordinating Team.

Wish you all a great week!!!
Thai Son

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The house of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Rome

Pope Calls Laity to Responsibility in the Church

Says a Change of Mentality Is Needed

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 24, 2012 ( Benedict XVI says the laity should be seen as truly "co-responsible" for the Church, and not just "collaborators" with the clergy.
   The Pope said this in an Aug. 10 message released Thursday by the Vatican. It is addressed to the 6th Assembly of the International Catholic Action Forum. The five-day assembly is under way through Sunday in Romania.
  "Co-responsibility requires a change in mentality, particularly with regard to the role of the laity in the Church," the Holy Father said.
Laity should be considered "persons truly 'co-responsible' for the being and activity of the Church," he stated.
   Hence, he called for a committed laity who are united, each making his own "specific contribution to the Church’s mission, in accordance with the ministries and tasks each one has in the life of the Church, and always in cordial communion with the bishops."

Read more >

World Youth Day 2013


Michelle Pham, 9 years old
At the beginning, I thought it was going to be boring, because I was forced to go to SEED, but after the fun of the first day, I couldn't wait for the rest.
    The leaders made it easier for me to get closer to God, which has been hard for me! They've made it a fun learning experience for me.
     I've made so many friends, too!
     I can't to see them again!
     SEED has made a big difference in me, and I can't wait for next year!

Thuy Linh Pham, 14 years old
I had so much fun at SEED, it was the definitely the best part of my summer :) At first, I felt like I was forced to go, and it was something I really didn't want to do. I was nervous about sharing with everyone and opening myself up to others.
     After meeting everyone and getting to know them, I felt like I could tell them anything. I really liked sharing with my small group with Chị Bethany, Anh Hugo, Cami, Catherine, and Tri-an. I learned SO MUCH from them and their experiences and testimonials. It also helped me learn more about myself and that I can trust in God. I can always turn to Him when I need help, because "God is my compass" :)
     The activities were so much fun, especially the mask activity and the scavenger hunt! The capes were amazing, that last day was literally the happiest day of my life :) As soon as I got home, I hung up everything from the retreat on my wall. They hold so many memories that I will never forget. I miss everyone so much, I really look forward to seeing all the retreatants at next year's SEED :)

Natalie Pham, 13 years old
SEED has been by far, the most enjoyable experience for me!(; It's one of the first retreats that I ever went to, and at first I thought that this wasn't going to be any fun. I expected this retreat to be dull and boring. But I guessed wrong! SEED is a place where you can be yourself, connect with God, and make friends!  I felt that this retreat has bonded me with God, and has taught me to savor life, and enjoy it.
     Some moments of challenges for me was sharing with the group. I have a lot of insecurities, and I was hesitant to share with the rest of the group. But when I realized I could relate to the group, I started to open up. It feels so much better now that I have let all my feelings out, and that people were there to support me. Times that made me smile with delight was on Entertainment Night; those moments were filled with joy and laughter. I loved watching the skits, and seeing the retreatants working like a team. Another thing that I loved about this retreat was the little surprise (actually, it was more of a big surprise!) that the leaders gave us on the last day. When I saw the leaders holding the capes, a huge smile came across my face. The capes were amazing, and I look at it everyday, and think of how much fun I had at SEED.
     When I think back to moments during the retreat, I try to cherish those moments. I appreciate all of the new friends that I have made, and I just wanted to say, thank you to all the retreat leaders: Anh John, Chi Bethany, Anh Jon, Anh Frank, and Anh Hugo! You have all taught me how to love, and appreciate God. And I also want to thank the parents too! You have all helped in this retreat and watched all of us SEEDlings grow. SEED is something that I will never forget, and will always remain close to my heart. I am looking foward to next years' retreat! :)

Anne Pham, 13 years old
This was my first time at SEED, as well as any retreat. During the course of SEED, there were wonderful memories created for me and I made a lot of new friends whom I would never forget. All the leaders were very friendly and made this experience something to remember throughout my life.Before SEED, I felt like I was being pressured into doing this, and that I would have no fun at all and that we would pray all day long. It turns out I was wrong and it was one of the most productive things I did all summer.
     Some of the things I liked about SEED were the small groups, because we got to know how each individual person felt about their parents, friends, family, etc. In this case, my group was Anh Frank, Clara, Aaron, Victor, and Theresa. I got to know them really well and had a super fun time with them. Whenever we had a group session, everybody was calm and all the stress was gone, because we could all let our feelings out through talking to our group. Another thing I liked was the "Cross the Line" activity. It told other people how one another felt about themselves. The mask activity was fun also, because we really got to know about nature and other things and being with only hearing and touch. I also love having the new capes. It felt like it was one of the best moments in life. It was awesome to be following in the footsteps of the leaders and the "crowning ceremony" was pretty touching to me.
     SEED was one best places I could go to when I'm looking for a place to meditate and get closer to God. I felt like this was a huge accomplishment in life because I connected with God, and I wasn't alone. All of the people in SEED, the parents, teens, and kids were there with me. All in all SEED was one of the most amazing things I did all summer. I would say that it was a life changing experience that let me learn more about myself. I'm totally looking forward to the next SEED and seeing all of the retreatants there. :D

Trang Nguyen, 8 years old
I learned that if something is in your way between you and God, your friends are there to guide you on the right path to God. We've tried examine of the conscious at home and we say where God is and we think of things we did during the day that we did right and wrong. I hope to go again next summer.

Phu Nguyen, 7 years old
I was happy to meet other kids and teenagers. The best thing I liked was making bunny ears on James. I saw God in nature and in everyone's heart. I also saw God in the vacation house that we've just gone to. I learned that prayer is talking to God and other saints to pray for us.

Hong Hai Nguyen, Mother
I did not have the privilege of going on the SEED retreat with my children because I had to take care of  my younger children. But after the retreat, Phu and Trang taught me the movement of the theme song "Lift Me Up." We've actually use the movement and sing the song as part of our prayer. I found the song to be very uplifting when all the lights are down and I was able to put my heart into the song.. You lift me up when I am weak. Your arms wrap around me. Your love catches me so I'm letting go. Your heart is all that I need.... Since the retreat, Anh Loc suggested that we do examine of the conscious with our children as part of our nightly prayer. So far, we've found God in rocks, food, pool, Phong's smile and laughter, everyone's heart, shopping center, church, sound of piano, bees, flowers, ...... My children reminded me that God is always present if only I take the time to acknowledge Him. Thank you Jesus for inviting us to SEED retreat where we learn more about You, grow to love You and call to serve You.

Amy Nguyen, 12 years old
When I came to SEED this year, I was really nervous. It was my first time there and I didn't know anyone, except for my family and some people I knew from back home. I wasn't sure if I would fell comfortable around everyone, most of them seemed to know each other for particular reasons. Luckily, I met some new people on the first day of SEED and got along with my group members during activities and the scavenger hunt.
     I felt closer to God as I talked about him, saw him in the people who had gathered for SEED, and let my faith for God grow stronger. SEED has helped me learn more about God that I haven't known before. All the leaders have been so helpful, kind, and funny. I can't wait to come back to next year's SEED retreat!

Paul Nguyen,  6 years old
Hello! my name is Paul and I am Six years old. I learned who is God and where is God and I saw God in my friends because they played with me. I had learned about Examen, Prayer like Our father,Praise and Worship, and Talking with God. I like to say Our father the most because I can talk to God anytime and anywhere. I feel excited about the SEED retreat . The funny stories, the activities like games naming teams,and badges reminded me of the retreat.and the leaders I wish I can come back to the retreat.

Ky Nguyen
Blatant Thirst for God in My Children

After months of preparation for SEED California II, the 13th of July, 2012 finally came with much excitement. In fact, it is a big pay-off for the SEED Leaders and SEED Organizers teams. It is big pay-off because things fell into the right places. Detailed Logistics played out very well. Food preparation was wonderfully coordinated. Rooming and lodging had no issue. The whole SEED community of 120 people, SEED retreat-ants and parents alike, seemed to enjoy very much. I could see a blatant thirst for God in my children, Lillian and Tilia.
     On the night before we departed for the retreat, Lillian and Tilia meticulously prepared for the retreat. Tilia surprised her parents by carefully selecting four plastic cups and packed them up in the suitcase, explaining that those were for each one of our family to use for teeth brushing at the SEED’s camp. Lillian did not let her parents help her pick her clothes. She did the choosing by herself. That night, my family had a very serious prayer for the following day’s SEED retreat.
     During the retreat, my children appeared to live in an intimate relationship with God. Lillian and Tilia did not fight at all. Instead, they went straight to beds every night after having done their own hygiene jobs. On the first night, Lillian could not sleep, but she just whispered to my ear to ask me to allow her to move from the bottom bed to top bed because it was so hot down there. When I noticed that she kept tossing up and down, I told her to try to sleep, she just closed her eyes and stopped moving. The children seemed to feel the existence of God everywhere. Therefore, they behaved very well.
     After the retreat, my children look forward to the SEED retreat next year. They keep singing the songs they learned from the retreat. They even did a show at home with her cousin Hien about God. Then, they performed the many songs with movements. I truly don’t know how they remember all those songs. They must be very interested in everything “cac anh chi” SEED Leaders taught them. While singing and performing the songs, their eyes looked much happy. They can’t wait to come back to SEED next year.
     SEED CA II was actually not just for children. It brought the Organizers to the Leaders, and the Leaders to the Organizers. It brought children closer to parents and parents closer to children. Most importantly, SEED CA II introduced God to children in a very children friendly way, which would last a long time in their tiny hearts.

Paula Hoang, 20, Kids Track

I first heard about SEED during my first year in college at Hat Cai. I yearned to be a leader that year, but sadly, I could not. I was home in San Diego in the summer and could not attend the SEED meetings in Irvine. After hearing about SEED and seeing the photos from last year, I was so happy I could be a SEED leader this year.
     Preparing the retreat for the kids was tricky since a lot of the kid’s track was new to SEED. However, we all tried our best and it was a blessing to work with each individual on our team. I really learned how to cater to other’s needs and work around people’s schedules. It was a pleasure working with every single person on the SEED team.
     When we got there, I knew it was time to let go and let God. And God was there. I saw Him many times throughout the retreat, especially when I watched the seedlings dance to the theme song. Other times included when they did their examen each night, when they performed the skits, when they came running to their parents for bedtime, when their parents unconditionally showed us their support, when each leader put all their energy into each activity. It was just so overwhelming [in a good way] to see God in all the lovely faces I encountered during that weekend.
     Now that I am home, I miss it so much! But on top of that, I am thankful, so so thankful. I’m thankful for being able to take part in the retreat, for being a leader, for God guiding me, for all these memories that I will forever cherish. I absolutely could not have been a great leader without God’s grace. His grace guided me and gave me strength every day. Going through and leading a retreat with a broken foot is not a very easy thing to do, especially with kid’s track. Those hills… they were killer! I shall never forget those hills!
     Nonetheless, each aspect of SEED was memorable. I shall never forget my first SEED retreat or my seedlings. I always look forward to the next time I see them. But until then, they will forever be in my hearts and prayers. Farewell, SEED California II! You shall not be forgotten!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tâm tình từ Họp Mặt Vùng Đông Bắc


Em nghĩ các anh chị ở nhà cũng mong muốn biết tin tức và ân sủng của từng người trong gia đình Tình Thương chúng mình, khi về lại sum họp đại gia đình trong lần Họp Mặt Vùng cuối tuần vừa qua. Cho phép em được chia sẻ những tâm tình còn cô đọng lại và làm cho trái tim em thao thức.

Lần thứ nhất 2 năm về trước là lính mới, Rookie! Rookie! đi về họp mặt vùng, em về với tâm tình là người khách trong đại gia đình Đồng hành.

Nhưng lần nầy đi về họp mặt vùng, em không còn mang tâm trạng đó nữa, em về HMV với một sự đồng cảm tự nhiên. Như những đứa con sống xa nhà, về nhà Mẹ, tiếng mẹ vô hình bao trùm tình thương mến trong đại gia đình Đồng Hành, về nhà gặp nhau để chia sẻ cho nhau, để lắng nghe, thăm hỏi nhau và múc lấy sức sống mới cho mình, cho nhóm. Một sự cảm thương, một niềm vui, khi thấy các anh chị về họp mặt còn dắt theo ba bốn năm đứa con, lớn nhỏ. Thực tế, chỉ một chuyện chi phí cho ngần đó gia đình về họp, cũng là một hy sinh lớn lao lắm .

Cũng có chút chút buồn vì cái Logo nhóm Tình Thương không được chọn, nhưng đó là ý Chúa quan phòng. Em không biết ai là designer cho cái Logo của lần họp mặt vùng lần nầy, không có ai nói cho em biết là người nào. Trước khi lên đó, em đóan những dấu lã lướt màu đỏ đứt khúc, là trái tim! em đóan đúng. Nhưng biểu hiệu bên trong em đóan là Đồng Hành thì sai, đó là ký hiệu Chúa Giêsu.
Một con tim bị rời từng khúc, có chổ dầy, chỗ mỏng, chổ gần , chổ xa, có chổ chỉ còn là một nét lã lơi, hờ hửng bao trùm lấy biểu tượng của Chúa Giêsu. Mà Giêsu đó là Gíao Hội. Một biểu tượng hiệp nhất! Cái Logo nầy đã làm cho con tim em thổn thức.

Bửu lúc nào cũng có những sáng kiến, em thích cái mục đấm bóp làm cho nhau giửa public mà không sợ cảnh sát. Sự qủang đại, nhiệt tình của anh Khang. Sự tận tình, phục vụ, dẩn đường, mang đầy thần khí Chúa Thánh Thần của anh Long, anh Liêm, chị Tuyết, Bửu, Ân, và Mai từng bước đã đưa em và mỗi người quay vào con tim của riêng mình để nhận ra ánh sáng hơn tình thương của Chúa qua Gíáo Hội, ánh sáng hơn thấy mình diễm phúc được sống trong lòng Gíáo Hội và tỏ tường hơn nhận ra được Gíao Hội đang cần sự đóng góp nơi em, nơi từng mỗi người như cần từng vật liệu để xây một ngôi nhà.

Em hiểu ra dù em có nhỏ bé đến đâu chăng nữa, dù em chỉ là hạt cát thô sơ giửa muôn ngàn viên đá kim cương, em vẩn có thể cùng xây dựng Gíáo Hội với cái em Là. Em mang cái vision của em bé gái (trong video clip) cho chính em từ bây giờ. Em xin Chúa giúp cho em đừng sợ và can đảm. Giúp cho em biết dùng nén bạc mà Chúa đã ban tặng em, giúp em xây dựng Gíao Hội trên bản thân em trước bằng sự thánh hóa và kết hiệp với Chúa Kitô sâu đậm hơn. Bởi nhờ sự kết hiệp nầy, em mới biết chia sẻ được sứ mệnh của Giêsu cứu độ.

Sự chia sẻ của Tiên làm cho em thao thức, mình có thể làm được gì đây? cho tuổi trẻ nầy. Những khó khăn trong đức tin của các em YaYA, làm cho em suy tư lắm, buồn, và thương. Nghe và nhìn các em YaYA hát bài cuối lễ, thấy thương lắm, cố gắng và tâm tình làm sao! Em thích bài cuối lễ thứ bảy ca đòan và các em hát hay qúa. Bài hát dâng Chúa trong lần HMV lần nầy, bài nào cũng tâm tình qúa, bài hát nào cũng đưa linh hồn mình kết hiệp vào trái tim tình yêu của Chúa.

Các em SEED dễ thương làm sao! Đây là tương lai của Gíao Hội, tương lai của Đồng Hành. Chắc chắn sẽ là những tinh hoa của cha mẹ và các bác các chú hiện nay. Cám ơn chị Monique của mình, đem hết cả nhóm góp phần văn nghệ cho mọi người. Không những là gia đình Tình Thương mà còn Hiệp nhất cả cộng đòan Đông Bắc.

Quán càphê Đồng Hành đặc biệt lắm, thật là ấn tượng, sắp hàng lâu lắm, mới đươc vào cửa. Tự do chọn lựa đề tài để tranh luận,vá thỏai mái bàn cải. Các em YaYA phục vụ lăng xăng, bánh ngọt trên bàn, lấy order từng người, y chang như mình đi qúan vậy!

Cảnh đời của em trai bị bịnh AIDS (trong slide show của chị Tuyết), tay lăn vòng quay bánh xe để đem từng chén cơm cho các em khác cũng bị bịnh AIDS trong những ngày cuối của cơn bịnh, làm cho em suy nghĩ nhiều lắm. Nhưng hình ảnh cha Damien làm cho em chảy nước mắt, em thấy đó là hình ảnh Chúa Giêsu và em là một trong những người bị bịnh cùi đó.

Thật tình, đi họp mặt vùng lần nầy sao lòng em thao thức, thổn thức, và lời gọi mời sắc bén như em đi tĩnh tâm. Có phải tiếng Chúa Giêsu thì thầm với em: "Thầy đã đến để đem lửa vào thế gian và Thầy những ước mong lửa ấy bùng cháy lên!"

Một chút chia sẻ những thao thức và tâm tình của em, em ước ao các anh chị cũng đồng cảm với em, để chúng mình trở nên những viên gạch mà anh Bảo đem đi họp mặt vùng nha.

Thương mến trong trái tim Chúa Giêsu.

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