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Nathan Tran and Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement youth leader in training Steven Tran performed during a lion dance at a Lunar New Year celebration Feb. 11 at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in south St. Louis.
Nathan Tran and Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement youth leader in training Steven Tran performed during a lion dance at a Lunar New Year celebration Feb. 11 at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in south St. Louis.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand

Young people find their faith flourishes through Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement

Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement prepares young Catholics for a life of discipleship

Julia Bui raised four fingers, and in an instant, a hush fell over several dozen children neatly lined up in the gymnasium at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish .

At first glance, the youths look like they’re part of a scouting group, wearing crisp, white button-down shirts, adorned with colored neckerchiefs. Each color represents a different age division.

Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement members, clockwise from left, Andrew Nguyen, Carson Nguyen, Michael Luong, Bright Dinh, Liam Damron, Eric Vo and Sage Dinh, rehearsed for a Nativity play Nov. 19 at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in south St. Louis. The Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement serves as a bridge for young people to continue their faith formation beyond the parish’s religious education classes, especially as they enter into their teen years.
Photo Credits: Jacob Wiegand
While Bui was seeking their attention, her sign also was a reminder of the four reasons they were there: prayer, a focus on the Eucharist, sacrifice and service.

The difference here is that these young people, part of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement, are preparing themselves for discipleship, learning how to spread the Good News of the Gospel to others through eucharistic prayer, education and service.

“We all share the same faith, and that makes us feel like we’re not alone,” 16-year-old Natalie Tran said. “If we’re struggling in faith, we have the support of one another. Our community is like a support system.”

In addition to weekly meetings and regular service projects, most of which take place at the parish, they also attend eucharistic adoration together once a month. Other activities include retreats and a camp typically held in the spring — both of which draw young people from chapters in other states.

Myan Huynh has been part of the Vitenamese Eucharistic Youth Movement at Resurrection since she was about 6 years old. “I grew up with this, and it’s helped me to appreciate my culture and my community,” the 16-year-old said.

The activities help her to better connect with peers who share the same Catholic faith, Myan added. “You become serious with one another and open up to one another,” she said. “It helps me to take the Eucharist more seriously.”

The Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement originated as part of the Children’s Eucharistic Crusade, which began in France in 1915 and was introduced in Vietnam in 1929. By 1965, it became known under its current name, with bylaws established with the approval of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Vietnam.

Jessica Ho, 9, Bella Lam, 9, and Hailey Nguyen, 8, took part in adoration after Mass with other children in the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement on Feb. 4.
Photo Credits: Jacob Wiegand
After the fall of Saigon in 1975, chapters were formed in Vietnamese refugee camps, expanding to other countries including the United States, Canada, France and Australia. There are 140 chapters in the United States; a St. Louis chapter was established in the mid-1990s and is now based at Resurrection in south St. Louis, which became a personal parish for Vietnamese Catholics in 2005.

Adult leader Viet Mai said, “We see our mission first as educating them both socially and spiritually so that they’re more well-rounded and they become good Christians and Catholics once they become adults.”

The Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement also serves as a bridge for young people to continue their faith formation beyond the parish’s religious education classes, especially as they enter into their teen years. “Beyond confirmation, there are no other programs to engage them,” Bui said. “Whereas we are engaging them in the long-term.”

Much of their service is centered on the local community. Activities have included making blankets for a children’s hospital and helping serve food at the Festival of Nations. Some recently volunteered at the parish’s Lunar New Year celebration in February, providing entertainment and helping serve food, which included a glass noodle stir fry, egg rolls and crab rangoon.

Father Binh “Francis” Nguyen, SVD, placed a monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament on the altar for adoration with members of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement following Mass on Feb. 4 at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in south St. Louis. The group normally gathers for adoration about once a month.
Photo Credits: Jacob Wiegand
Delina Tran and her cousin Steven Tran were among a group of teens who were lion dancers at the new year celebration. A traditional dance in several Asian cultures, the lion dance incorporates dancers in costume — one in the front for the head and the other in back as the tail — as they dance to the beat of a drum.

The celebration brings together both culture and religion, Steven Tran said. In the morning, Mass is celebrated together as a parish community, followed by an afternoon of food and fun held in the gymnasium.

“We’re building up our Vietnamese community, and also with our faith, it’s building up our faith every Sunday,” he said. “It builds upon our culture and our religion.”

The group’s leaders, all of whom are young adults, are called to a eucharistic life, which incorporates three primary elements: a daily prayer offering in the morning and at night, and including something at the peak of the day, such as attending Mass, eucharistic adoration or making a spiritual Communion.

“We have to live that life, so that when they see it, they will be able to emulate that,” Mai said. “When we do that, 90 percent of our job as youth leaders is done, because we’re serving as role models for the youth.”

Beyond catechesis and the sacraments, the movement provides young people a healthy discipline to remaining engaged in the faith, said Resurrection pastor Father Binh “Francis” Nguyen, SVD, who is a preacher for the National Eucharistic Revival.

Myan Huynh, 16, performed with other members of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement during a Lunar New Year celebration Feb. 11 at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in south St. Louis.
Photo Credits: Jacob Wiegand
“We teach them how to live the life of faith actively with energy,” he said. “We form them in a discipline — we lead them to church, we lead them to the Eucharist.”

“This allows them to grow in their faith,” Father Nguyen said, noting that he often sees young people who are not involved in the group leave the Church after confirmation. “But this group, they stay, because this is their home. Their responsibility is right here.”

From the Archive Module

Young people find their faith flourishes through Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement 9428

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