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 with other disciples. The Emmaus journey is a living and refreshing experience of the accompany with the Lord. It is an invitation for the Novices of the Friars Minor Conventual in Vietnam to step in to meet, recognize and renew their vocation firmly in the Risen Lord.
The Emmaus journey starts from the Mountain of Christ, the King at Chau Son parish and ends at the friary of Saint Francis of Assisi from April 21 to noon of April 23. The journey was nearly 80 km long including farming and hilly roads. The group of 8 novices was accompanied by Fr. Dominic Hoàng Thành Nghĩa, Novice Master, and brother Joseph Trần Văn Đức, a student friar who is doing his pastoral year at the friary.
After the morning Mass, the group visited St. Anthony’s monument in Chau Son parish to ask the saint to accompany them on the journey. Along the way, the friars took time to meditate on the journey of the two disciples of Emmaus and to share each friar’s vocation history. After a day of walking in all kinds of weather: sunny, thunderstorm, and rainy with many strange roads, at 17:00, the group arrived at Phuc Binh parish. The friars were warmly welcomed by Fr. Joseph Bùi Văn Trường, the dean of the parish. He offered a dinner and sleeping places for the friars.
On Monday, April 22, at morning Mass, the Novice Master invited the novices to discern each own vocation. The group continued on the journey in the accompany of Fr. Joseph Trường and some people in the parish for 5 kilometers. In order to avoid busy streets, the group chose to cross the trails and the hills to go to the parish of Christ, the King of the next stop. At 17:00′, the friars arrived at the parish. Father Vincent Ngô Văn Hùng, the dean of the parish, and Fr. Peter Nguyễn Ngọc Duy, one of our Conventual Friars doing his ministry in the parish as a vicar, welcomed the friars.
On Tuesday, April 23, after morning Mass, the group continued on their way to the friary. The brothers wanted to enter and cross the forest without using the map to experience total abandonment in the hands of God and in the care of fraternity. Although the road was only about 18 km, it was not easy to find the right direction and they were lost sometimes. At 13:00, the friars arrived at the friary of Saint Francis of Assisi. Entering the monastery gate, all of the brothers could not hide their joy and gratitude and started singing the Te Deum to give thanks to God.
The Emmaus journey has come to an end, but the experiences of companionship and the experience of encountering and realizing the Risen Lord of each Novice are strongly convincing.
Written Friar Paul Trương Văn Mỹ, Assistance of the Novice Master
Check out the following slideshow of pictures capturing the memories