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Vietnamese catechist: catechism also forms the young to become good citizens

Maria, a Vietnamese catechist, views catechism as an education that does not only help young people get a full grasp of Catholic teachings but also grow into responsible citizens. 

"Catechism does not only support young people to approach the doctrine of the Catholic, but it also helps them learn how to live and grow in harmony with people in the community, “ she said. 

Catechism also teaches the young how to "connect with others" and "how to build a good relationship with other people, she added. 

Through catechism, "the young can stand and overcome the challenges and difficulties in life," she said. 

Maria expressed apprehensions over the confusion that generally confronts young people. 

"I’m worried about how they will find the meaning of their lives and how they can keep being close to God and see Him present every single day, Maria said.

She observed that young people of today easily overthink things that affect them and  "get hurt with many problems like love, money, education, social life," and other things. 

Maria encourages young people to believe in themselves so that they can find a way to face challenges. She also invites them to keep learning every day and recognize their value "to make their life more and more meaningful." 

Maria got the inspiration to become a catechist and help in forming the young. She witnessed some young leaders in their parish teaching catechism classes with "enthusiasm," including reading stories from the Bible. 

"I was inspired by the way they shared," she said. "My hope to become a catechist started with a small piece in my heart, and it grew more every day." 

Maria became a catechist when she was a Grade 12 student, but she focused more on learning how to become a good one. 

When she entered the university at the age of 18, she started to spend more time every Sunday teaching catechism to students.

Her home town is in Nam Phuong parish, Vietnam, where another ethnic group called K'ho also thrives. 

"Most of the people around my parish have a normal standard of living, even though they are not rich," she said. "Our community celebrates mass every day. On Sunday, for the mass song, we sing in the language of the K’ho."

The K'ho people are nice and friendly, despite some holding different opinions, she noted. 

Maria's first students were seven years old, and there were about 15 in the class. 

She has been teaching catechism for the past more than eight years. 

Currently, she is teaching catechism in Hanh Thong Tay parish in Ho Chi Minh diocese. Her students range in age from 13 to 14 years old.

"Hanh Thong Tay is very famous for its story, she said. " This parish is a large one with more than 7, 000 lay people, and over 1, 400 students aged five to 18 years old. They are a part of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement."

The people in the parish are faithful and support the activities of the church. 

Maria has a full-time job at an international school in Vietnam, teaching primary students. 

" It also supports me to love children more, and to easily give more attention to the students," she said. "I love to be with children and help them become leaders." 

Maria finds contentment in being a teacher of catechism. She has been doing it every Sunday for the past more than eight years. 

"It makes me feel at peace and I enjoy it," she said. "I'm happy doing it. And when I give time to the children, I also think that God always gives me a way to support myself and opportunities to develop my skills." 

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