SASKATOON — In procession, with song, dance and prayer, the Vietnamese Catholic community of Saskatchewan concluded a May 20 - 22 Marian Congress held at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon.
Some 600 attended the provincial congress, which this year focused on encountering the mercy of God through Mary.
The weekend of spiritual enrichment included presentations, speakers, worship, social gatherings, and a communal pilgrimage through the Holy Doors of Mercy at the cathedral, followed by adoration.
A concluding mass with Bishop Donald Bolen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon began with an outdoor procession with banners and statues of Our Lady of La Vang and of Jesus. Guest speaker during the weekend was Rev. Joseph Hai Vu of the United States.
Held every two years, the gathering included participants from Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg, said Rev. Phong Pham, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Saskatoon and one of the organizers of the event.
“We try to learn, experience the mercy of God and then extend our mercy toward others, first of all at this critical moment toward our homeland Vietnam and its 70-year-long suffering of people who are crying, praying for freedom, human rights. and respect and democracy, and who are still treated harshly by the communist government.”
Bolen reflected on mercy, Mary and the Trinity during his homily May 22, which was translated into Vietnamese by Pham.
“Mercy is that love which reaches out to us when we are broken or in great need, miserable or in misery, and which bends toward us with a caress,” said Bolen. “It is precisely the kind of love that human beings need from God, and that God loves to bestow upon us.”
Mercy is at the very heart of God, said Bolen. “At its heart, the mystery of the Trinity is nothing other than the mystery of a God who draws near to us in love,” he said, adding that Mary is deeply part of this mystery of God’s mercy.
“She was a recipient of God’s mercy, of God’s desire to come close to her. And she teaches us how to open ourselves to God’s mercy, to say yes to God,” he said. “Then she bore that mercy incarnate in Jesus, and teaches us how to be bearers of mercy. She walked with Jesus, saw his great deeds of mercy, and as his mother, learned also to be a follower, and with him, she teaches us to walk in the way of mercy.”