During the journey to Emmaus, the two disciples recognized Jesus as he broke the bread and gave it to them. Then they immediately returned with joy to Jerusalem to announce the good news of the Risen Lord to the other disciples. The Emmaus journey is the living and refreshing experience of walking with the Lord. It invites the novices of the Friars Minor Conventual in Vietnam to take part in it and to recognize and renew their vocations firmly in the Risen Lord.
On April 21-23, 2023, eight novices of the Provincial Custody of St. Anthony Fasani in Vietnam went on their own Emmaus journey. They started from the “Mountain of Christ, the King” at the Châu Sơn Parish Church in Đắk Lắk Province and ended at the St. Francis of Assisi Friary in Đắk Nông Province. The journey was nearly 80 km [50 mi.] along roads that passed through farmland and hills. The novices were accompanied by Friar Dominic HOÀNG (Thành Nghĩa), Novice Master, and Friar Joseph TRẦN (Văn Đức), a student friar who is doing his pastoral year at the friary.
After morning Mass, the group prayed before the statue of St. Anthony in the Châu Sơn Parish Church to ask him to accompany them on their journey. Along the way, the friars took time to meditate on the journey of the two disciples of Emmaus and each shared his own vocation story with the others. After a day of walking through all kinds of weather—sun, thunderstorms, and rain, and walking down many unfamiliar roads, at 5:00 p.m. the group arrived at the Phuc Binh Parish Church in Đak Mil Diocese. The friars were warmly welcomed by the Pastor, Father Joseph TRƯỜNG (Bùi Văn). He provided dinner for the friars and gave them places to sleep.
During morning Mass on Monday, April 22, the Novice Master invited each of the novices to discern his own vocation. The group continued on its journey accompanied by Father Joseph and some parishioners who walked with the friars for 5 km [3 mi.] In order to avoid busy streets, the group chose to take trails through the hills to get to the parish church at the next stop. At 5:00 p.m., the friars reached the church and were welcomed by the Pastor, Father Vincent NGÔ (Văn Hùng) and Friar Peter NGUYỄN (Ngọc Duy), one of our Conventual friars. He is serving at the parish as an Associate Pastor.
After morning Mass on Tuesday, April 23, the group continued on its way to the friary. The friars decided to enter the forest and cross through without using a map, in order to experience totally abandoning themselves in the hands of God and in the care of fraternity. Although the road was only about 18 km [11 mi.], it was not easy to find the right direction and they got lost sometimes. At 1:00 p.m., they reached the St. Francis of Assisi Friary in Đăk Nông Province. Entering the friary gate, the friars, unable to conceal their joy and gratitude, started singing the Te Deum, giving thanks to God.
Their Emmaus journey had come to an end, but the fraternity they felt and the experience of encountering and recognizing the Risen Lord in each other made a lasting impact.
Friar Paul TRƯƠNG (Văn Mỹ), Assistant Novice Master