The Pastoral Institute of Saigon: SY 2014-2015 Opening Mass
The Pastoral Institute of the Archdiocese of Saigon has officially commences the SY 2014-2015 with its theme “Knowledge-Love-Service” by a Thanksgiving Mass which was presided by Archbishop Paul Bui at the Pastoral Centre Chapel on September 17, 2014. It was concelebrated by 13 Catholic priests and it was participated by the Faculty, Staff, students and family members of the three (3) college graduates.
In his homily, the Bishop exhorted the congregation to set one’s heart to the Holy Spirit, who is the original flame of enthusiasm on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is the gift of life. It is the ultimate grace that embodies the three important gifts of faith, hope and love.
At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Paul Bui awarded the Certificates on Theological Studies to the three students: Maria Teresa Le Ngoc Lan, Nguyen Thi Rang and Maria Teresa Phan Thi Phuong and to the 36 students who completed the course on Marriage & Family's Minister.
The students of the Pastoral Institute went home filled with joy and hope because of the success they have achieved in the past year as well as having glimpses for the things that would unfold in the years to come.
Importantly, the Pastoral Institute Community gathered for the first time at the old chapel that belongs formerly to the St. Joseph Seminary. Since the seminary has a new chapel, it was turned over to the Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre. Indeed, it was a joyful and memorable day because the Community offered the SY 2014-2015 to the loving gratuitousness of God.
Here is the homily of the Archbishop based on (Acts 2:1-11; 12:3b; 1 Cor 7:12-13; Jn 20:19 to 23)
◄ Dear friends, today we celebrate as one the opening ceremony of the School Year 2014-2015 at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Saigon. Let us rejoice and be glad to pray fervently for this new school year.
To participate in the celebration of the Mass is being active and zealous. We let the Word of God shines and lights up the liturgical assembly as well as the soul of each person. Today, the Scripture readings that have been selected are leading us to the Holy Spirit.
◄ Pentecost is the Church’s Birthday. Fifty days after Easter, “People are gathered in one place, suddenly there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind from heaven and filled the entire house where they were sitting. Then they saw the crescent appeared like tongues of fire rested on each one. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit... "(Acts 2.1 to 4). The apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and they boldly preached Jesus of Nazareth who died and is resurrected by God, the Holy Spirit's power. Everyone was amazed that everyone heard the apostles speaking in their native languages (Acts 2.6).
◄ Today is the opening ceremony for the School Year 2014-2015. It makes people want to receive the Holy Spirit, such as the date of birth of the Church. Let us ask God the Father and Jesus himself who had urged his followers (Luke 11: 9 to 13); the Father will certainly listen to us and will give us the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost Day, the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire shaped like the symbol of the "heat of love", which we can collectively be referred to as "enthusiasm".
Christian enthusiasm in the proclamation of the Gospel is only possible through the Holy Spirit who is the "Spirit of Love" of the Father and of the Risen Christ.
Through the Spirit’s flame of love burning in the hearts of the Apostles, they boldly proclaim the wonders of God…The greatest manifestation of God, Jesus, who is risen from the dead by the Holy Spirit’s power.
◄ John's gospel too presents a different way of the Holy Spirit. The Gift of the Holy Spirit is the greatest and most valuable grace , that the Risen Jesus gave to the Apostles who represent the entire Church: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you ... receive the Holy Spirit, whom you forgive they are forgiven”, (Jn 20:21-23).
The Holy Spirit is the "Breath" that the Risen Lord has given that bestowed us New Life. The prophecy of Jesus to Nicodemus came true: "No one can enter the kingdom of God, if not born of water and Spirit" (Jn 3:4).
◄ St. Paul in his First Letter sent to the Corinthians said: "All of us, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, were baptized in the one Spirit to become one Body. All of us are filled with only one Spirit "(1 Cor 12:13). “Only the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and Christ. Only one Body which is the Church of Christ and in the Church, we live in one Spirit.“
◄ The Holy Spirit is the greatest grace, which contains all gifts. Receiving the Holy Spirit, we will have it all. It does not lack a certain grace, but the most important is the "grace of Faith", "Hope" and love or Charity”.
Every philosophy, theology, the Bible, Doctrine and Pastoral courses that are being taught at the Pastoral Centre aim to foster the spiritual life of the mature Christian.
May God bless you, my brothers and sisters as you welcome this SY 2014-2015.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.