Radio Veritas Asia (RVA) Hmong Language Service celebrated Audience Day on September 8–9 at the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) Hmong Center in Lomsak, Thailand, to strengthen relationships with its audience in Southeast Asia.
The theme of the celebration was "Hmong evangelism and new media," and over 300 individuals attended.
The Hmong people are originally a semi-nomadic population, and they don’t have a deep-rooted national identity, but they have a great sense of belonging to a clan in which they share the same language and tradition.
Hmong people from different countries can understand each other and, more importantly, they feel they are part of the same ethnic group, and, on this basis, they build close relationships.
Father Rodighiero Domenico, coordinator of the Hmong Language Service, described the various components of the Hmong Audience Day celebration.
On September 8, a round table was held with the purpose of exchanging experiences, gathering information, and fostering unity among the participants in order to gain an understanding of the current situation of the Hmong people and how they practice their faith.
Father Domenico stated that the participants in this round of discussion had the opportunity to provide input on how the RVA Hmong Language Service could use social media to evangelize the Hmong people more effectively.
The priest stated that the gathering was quite diverse, with a significant number of participants hailing from Laos, others from Vietnam and Thailand, and a small number of women joining the discussion.
Several priests, including some Hmong, were present and willing to share their experiences during the round table discussion.
The fifty participants were divided into four working groups that met in the morning and afternoon and reported the outcomes of their deliberations to the assembly.
During the discussion, members of the audience brought up the profound changes society has undergone and, in particular, the assimilation process experienced by the Hmong.
Father Domenico stated that the Hmong are no longer isolated in the mountains, so they must assimilate into the local culture and acquire the language and customs of the area. The Hmong abandon their villages to find employment in the city, leaving behind the elderly and children.
This new circumstance disrupts their families and social fabric. In reality, there are not enough catechists to pass on the faith to the next generation and keep it alive in the souls of the adults.
The second portion of the event, which took place on September 9, was the celebration of Mass, which generated a sense of joy and community and expressed hope for the Hmong people, including those in attendance.
Twenty priests participated in the Eucharist led by the bishop of Nakhornsawan, Phibul Visitnonthachai.
In his homily, the prelate urged the Hmong people to be strong and to live their faith without fear.
He exhorted them to "purify their tradition and follow Jesus, the giver of joy."
The celebration culminated with the Fiesta, where they shared a meal prepared by the various parishes of the region while watching a cultural performance.
Father Domenico stated that the entire celebration was "a day of joy and unity in which everyone, regardless of their differences, felt like they belonged to the same reality, the same family: the Catholic Church."
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.