August Reflection

Real Presence: Jesus Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely presence in the Eucharist. (Cf CCC 1374)

Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

Dear friends,

I have some old news to share with you: two-third of U.S. Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This data is according to the Pew Research Center, released on August 5, 2019. If you, as a member of the VEYM, pause and ask what Real Presence is, then you need to read on. The belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is so fundamental and unique to our faith that without it, we cannot call ourselves Catholics anymore, just like we cannot call ourselves a basketball fan if we’ve never heard of Steph Curry or the Los Angeles Lakers. So, I would like to take this opportunity to review with you the Catholic doctrine on Real Presence.

Imagine that you must go on a long trip far from home. On the second week of your trip you start to miss your loved ones. You pull out your phone and make a video call with them, you tell them how much you miss them and how you wish they were there with you. At the end of the call you didn’t forget to tell them, “See you soon!”

For our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters, the belief in the Eucharist is like making a video call or looking at a picture of Jesus. The bread is a symbol of Jesus, but it is not really him. Paintings, mosaics, stain glass, or other depictions of Jesus also belong to this category. We Catholics believe in a different thing. We believe that the consecrated bread is really Jesus. When we look at the consecrated bread, we really look at a person. In the Eucharist, we can say to him, “I see you.” This “you” is a real person we see who is physically present in front of us. This is a higher form of presence, just like a physical person is a higher form of presence than a picture of the person.

Isn’t it hard to believe that a piece of bread is a person? Normally I would totally agree that it is even nonsense to call bread a person and treat it as such. The Real Presence, however, is not a normal phenomenon because it is motivated by love, and love makes people do crazy things. Jesus loves us so much that he leaves us his body and blood to stay with us in this world. By his own loving power, he changed bread into his flesh and grape wine into his blood. He said, “This is my body. This is my blood.” With these very same words the priest, acting in the person of Jesus, turns bread and grape wine into Jesus’ flesh and blood in Mass. Thus, Catholics believe that when we see the consecrated host and wine, we see the real Jesus. When we receive communion, we receive the person Jesus. Jesus said, “This is,” not “this represents” or “this symbolizes.” So, we believe the bread is him, and the wine is him, not symbolizing him. With this belief, we are called to show our deepest love and respect toward this Most Holy Sacrament. However we would act in front of God, the same is expected of us when we are in front of the Eucharist.

This is our faith, the holy faith that has been preserved and handed on for over two thousand years. Let us embrace it in the spirit of freedom and of love, and in turn hand it on to our brothers and sisters who have not yet believed in it.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, a heart so pure and pleasing to God, pray for us.

Bao Tran, CSsR

May Reflection

            Do you like the month of May? Why? I like it very much because I am from Houston and the weather is gorgeous preparing for the summer heat. Houston is the best city! Just kidding. No, I like the month of May because it’s the month for all mothers. I have great honor for them because they sacrifice so much for all of us to have life. There is just no way we can pay our mother back. It is also a month of Mary, our Mother. We cannot love her enough either. Every time I am down or making a transition in life, she is always there. I am going through a rough transitioning right now too and she is comforting me. 

            In the Old Testament there is a book called the Book of Esther. This book tells the story of Queen Esther and her help of rescuing her people from destruction. The story goes that Esther, who is a Jew, is married to Ahasuerus, a Persian king. This king does not take making decisions very seriously, and often makes decision for trivial reasons. His minister, Haman, does not have a good relationship with the Jewish people and is looking for ways to destroy them. At last, Haman tricks King Ahasuerus into believing that the Jews are a different people, and that they do not obey the king. As a result, King Ahasuerus gives power to Haman to destroy all the Jews who live in that land. Sensing the danger facing the Jews, Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, comes to Esther to ask her to use her power and influence as queen to change the king’s mind, so that the Jews will not be destroyed. That is exactly what Esther does. After some days praying to God, Esther goes to King Ahasuerus, and using her influence, she successfully convinces the king to retract his decision, and so she is able to save the Jewish people from destruction. Not only that, she is able to have Haman punished for his crime against the Jews.

            When reading this Bible book, many people see an image of Mother Mary in Queen Esther. How so? Think about it. We have a parallel in the characters. The king represents God (but God is so much better than the king). Queen Esther represents Mother Mary. We are Mary’s people. And Haman stands for our enemy, the Devil. The Devil always has a problem with us because he does not like us. He tries to corrupt us and destroy us by tempting us to sin. (Stop for a second and think about how many times you were tempted to sin in the past few days.) In our temptations, we may feel weak, unworthy, or scared to come to God for help. Who, then, can we come for help? Mother Mary, of course! Many saints say that is the main reason why God makes Mary our Mother and Queen. As a Mother, she always loves us and cares for our wellbeing, and as a Queen, she has the power and influence to pray to God for us. What mother does not love her children, and what queen does not care for her people, right? A good mother always cares for her children and put their needs before her own. That is exactly how Mother Mary treats us. Up in Heaven, she constantly looks down on us to see if we need anything. Once she sees that we need something, she immediately prays to God for us and obtains it for us. It is in her nature to love us and to see that we are living our lives well. So never be afraid of Mary. Never avoid her. Come to her and talk to her. She is available to you at any time. 

            And as we often dedicate some days to honor someone, such as Memorial Day and Presidents’ Day, our Church dedicates the entire month of May to honor our Mother Mary. In Vietnamese, we also call the month of May Tháng Hoa, meaning the Month of Flowers. This name points to the many flowers we place in front of Mary to honor her, to the point that her altar may look like a garden of flowers. As we give her many flowers, let us keep in mind that Mother Mary is the most beautiful flower in the garden of God because of her perfect virtues. Let us follow her footstep in living virtuous lives so that with Mary, we can please God with the fragrant of our virtues in the garden of Heaven.

            Meanwhile, let us also honor Mother Mary with her most favorite flower, the Rosary.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. (You finish the rest.)

-Fr. Steven Tran

Agape “I Thirst”

Dear Young People! Are You THIRSTY? Jesus is Thirsty! We know that a lot of your retreat got cancelled this year. Join us this Wednesday 6pm-8pm CDT (7pm-9pm EDT). We can take advantage of this social distancing to make room for Jesus through this virtual Holy Week retreat.

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 287 414 1737
Password: 811390

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Prayers to Tr. Thanh from Đoàn Đơn Bosco

Trưởng Kiệm, Đoàn Trưởng Đoàn Đơn Bosco, mới báo cho biết có một Huynh Trưởng ở đoàn của anh, Huynh Trưởng tên là Maria Nguyễn Thanh bị nhiễm COVID-19; hiện đang nằm trong ICU. Anh Kiệm nhờ báo tin này lên trang mạng và Facebook của Liên Đoàn Biển Đức. Xin quý Trưởng cầu nguyện cho Trưởng Thanh được mau bình phục!

Tr. Kiệm, President of Đơn Bosco chapter, has announced that a youth leader from his chapter, Tr. Nguyễn Thanh, has been tested positive for COVID-19; currently in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Tr. Kiệm wish to have this announcement on our St. Benedict League of Chapters website and Facebook. Please keep Tr. Thanh in your prayers and for a fast recovery.

YOUTH LEADER LEVEL III TRAINING CAMP, TIBERIA XV

Dearest Chaplains, Chaplain Assistants, Youth Leader Trainers, and Youth Leaders:

In accordance with the National Headquarters’ annual calendar of events and the needs of the Leagues of Chapters, the National Executive Committee hereby announce to all eligible members of the VEYM the following Youth Leader Trainer Level III and Specialty Training Camp (Topic: Holy Mass) in the year 2020:

A-YOUTH LEADER LEVEL III TRAINING CAMP, TIBERIA XV

1. Location: Corona, California (nearest airport code LAX, ONT or SNA)
2. Date & Time: From 02:00 PM Wednesday the 12th to 02:00 PM Sunday the 16th of August 2020
3. Registration Fee: $200.00
4. Deadline: Apply before the 12th of May 2020 (late applications will not be accepted)
5. Registration Requirements: (1) 21 years or older; (2) Copy of government issued photo ID; (3) Certified as a Youth Leader Level II for at least six months; (4) Currently active within the VEYM; (5) Endorsement from the affiliated Executive Committee and Chaplain; (6) Endorsement from the League of Chapters Executive Committee and Chaplain and; (7) Chapter registered under is compliant with annual membership dues.

B-SPECIALITY TRAINING CAMP: TOPIC, HOLY MASS
1. Location: Sabillasville, Maryland (airport code BWI, DCA or IAD)
2. Date & Time: From 05:00 PM Friday the 22nd to 10:00 AM Monday the 25th of May 2020
3. Registration Fee: $50.00
4. Deadline: Apply before the 12th of May 2020 (late applications will not be accepted)
5. Registration Requirements: (1) Certified as a Youth Leader/Chaplain Assistant; (2) Currently active within the VEYM; (3) Endorsement from the affiliated Executive Committee and Chaplain; (4) Chapter registered under is compliant with annual membership dues. Note: Recommend each Chapter send/sponsor one member from their chapter to attend.

TRAINING CAMP REGISTRATION GUIDE
1. Go to https://camps.veym.net/
2. Click on the desired training camp to register
3. Fill out the requested information
4. Complete the respective training camp application form and waiver form attached
5. Upload all required documentation
6. Click “add to cart”
7. Proceed to checkout and pay with a credit card
8. A confirmation email will be provided for record

CANCELLATION POLICY Cancellation must be notified to headquarters@veym.net one month before camp start date to receive a full refund minus $10 for the servicing fee.

For all questions, please contact the National Executive Committee via headquarters@veym.net or Tr. Joseph Đào Văn Đức at duc.dao@veym.net. The National Executive Committee will review and will inform applicants of their status as well as other logistic information to prepare for the training camp following the deadline.

For the future of the VEYM, the National Executive Committee invites Chaplains and Chapter Executive Committees to motivate, encourage and create opportunities for Youth Leaders to participate, and to always pray for the success of the training camp.

May Christ in the Eucharist through the intercession of Mary bless you and the amazing work that you are doing for His glory. God bless!

Attested,

Rev. FX Nguyễn Thanh Bình, SVD
General Chaplain

Tr. Dominic Hoàng Công Thái Dương
President, National Executive Committee