Ngày Lễ Tạ Ơn

“Cũng trong bữa ăn, Đức Giê-su cầm lấy bánh, dâng lời chúc tụng, rồi bẻ ra, trao cho môn đệ và nói: ‘Anh em cầm lấy mà ăn, đây là mình Thầy.’ Rồi Người cầm lấy chén, dâng lời tạ ơn, trao cho môn đệ và nói: ‘Tất cả anh em hãy uống chén này, vì đây là máu Thầy, máu Giao Ước, đổ ra cho muôn người được tha tội.” (Mt 26: 26-28).

Lạy Ngài, Ngài là Chúa Giê-su, Đấng cứu tọi trần gian, nếu có bóng tối, xin Ngài ban cho ánh sáng; nếu có nỗi đau đớn, xin Ngài ban cho sự an ủi; nếu có sự thất vọng, xin Ngài ban cho hy vọng.

Sau đây tôi xin chia sẻ với các bạn bài lời viết của Đức Hồng Y Phanxicô Xaviê Nguyễn Văn Thuận:

Chấm này nối tiếp chấm kia, ngàn vạn chấm thành một đường dài.
Phút này nối tiếp phút kia, muôn triệu phút thành một đời sống.
Chấm mỗi chấm cho đúng, đường sẽ đẹp.
Sống mỗi phút cho tốt, đời sẽ thánh.
Ðường hy vọng do mỗi chấm hy vọng.
Ðời hy vọng do mỗi phút hy vọng.

Chúc các bạn một Ngay Lễ Tạ Ơn đầy hy vọng.

– Trần Anh Nhật

The value of human life part I

Perhaps it is fitting that today, Friday April 6, 2012 to all, and Good Friday to some, that the thought of human life and its value would cross my mind on a day that is closely associated with death, the death of Christ on the Cross. I think this is a perfect opportunity to reflect on human life, as we trace back in reverse the cycle, from death to birth.

How is the story of humanity connected to the story of life? How are we all inter-connected to each other? Why do we contemplate about the value of human life? Does human life have value?

“1. In both East and West, we may trace a journey which has led humanity down the centuries to meet and engage truth more and more deeply. It is a journey which has unfolded—as it must—within the horizon of personal self-consciousness: the more human beings know reality and the world, the more they know themselves in their uniqueness, with the question of the meaning of things and of their very existence becoming ever more pressing. This is why all that is the object of our knowledge becomes a part of our life. The admonition Know yourself was carved on the temple portal at Delphi, as testimony to a basic truth to be adopted as a minimal norm by those who seek to set themselves apart from the rest of creation as “human beings”, that is as those who “know themselves”.” (Pope John Paul II, Fides et ratio, 1998).

The above passage is from the late Pope John Paul II’s introduction in his Encyclical Fides et ratio (Faith and Reason). All forms of life have a beginning and an end, birth and death, but it is what happens between these two events that define the uniqueness of each form of life.  For human beings, perhaps our uniqueness is defined by our quest to “know ourselves”. But during our journey of discovering ourselves, do we become more in tune with our fellow human beings, or do we become more enclosed and fail to recognize our common humanity? The fact that some of us are trying to defend and promote justice and human rights across the globe, clearly demonstrates that there are some places in this world where human life has little value.

Many who have been searching for true human values have come to recognize that to be able to live fully as human beings, in its highest form, in its most dignified state, there are certain fundamental basic rights and freedoms that one should have full access to. These include but are not limited to the freedom to practise openly one’s religion, to assemble openly with others for a common cause, and to have a difference of opinion from a ruling party. Many who have come to this conclusion have seen themselves end up in places of darkness. But in these dark places, they have become beacons of hope, they have become the embers of a fire that refuses to die out.

If we are guaranteed death, and suffering and despair, then we are also assured of birth, and renewal and hope.

Where ever there is despair, we shall find new hope. Where ever there is death, we shall find new life. And where ever there is an end, we shall find a new beginning. Hope gives value to human life.

– Anh Nhật

TUOI TRE VIET NAM: PHAI LEN TIENG

Below is an infomercial about the Speak Up Now! Campaign to help raise awareness about the plight of the 15 youth activists unjustly detained in Vietnam. These innocent young men and women, all of them religious and human rights activists in the Vietnamese Catholic community, were arbitrarily arrested and detained without any outside contact and the whereabouts of some remain unknown.

As of late, these arrests have become more and more like abductions–deftly executed and violent in nature, without any notification or explanation to the families of the detainees. But these youths are educated, faithful, and courageous individuals who are full of potential and love for their country and for justice. Most of them are only in their 20’s & 30’s, just like me, and probably just like you.

We cannot let this injustice go on. And yet, the plight of these activists is not getting enough media attention, nor enough awareness from the rest of the world… There must be something we can do to help these people; there must be some way we can show them our support, and that we are thinking of them…

You can help by:
1. Submitting a letter of support for the youths to phailentieng@lenduong.net. View the letters at http://phailentieng.lenduong.net/

2. Submitting a 30-second video recording of yourself (individual or in a group) saying why/how you are speaking up for the youths. This will be compiled to create a compilation of youth voices from around the world, standing in solidarity with the youths being detained in Vietnam. (Wear purple!)

We need your voice. Please help us stand up for Human Rights and for Justice.

SPEAK UP NOW!

Minh-Thùy

Music from the Mountains

It’s been a while since I had a music post up. I’ve been itching to write this post since an acquaintance shared this wonderful song with me last week. I was told how the people in the mountains of Vietnam, called the Hmong or Montagnards, are people with pure, good and simple ideals. They aren’t concerned with materialism or the complications of the busy city life, and so their lives are filled with love and faith. It’s something you can tell just by listening to this song.

However, it is true that they have been facing terrible religious persecution at the hands of the Vietnamese Communist government. The Montagnard people are devout Christians and Catholics, which in Vietnam makes them a target of the regime; even more so because their people sided with America during the Vietnam War.

Since they are a strong and admirable people, they refuse to renounce their faith despite all the violence, harassment, and arrests imposed on them by the communist government. They continue to practice and protect their religious beliefs and peacefully protest the injustice of the government. Such is the atrocity of communism, that it won’t even spare something as pure and good as these folks’ faith. May God have mercy on all the wretched communist souls. -_-”

If you’d like to know more about this, I recommend these articles:

Persecution of Montagnards in Vietnam

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Vietnam – Montagnards Harshly Persecuted

Here is the song. It is in Vietnamese, written and composed by Vietnamese Montagnard singer Y Moan (who was of our grandparents’ generation and passed away not long ago), and is called Giấc Mơ Cha-pi which translates to “Cha-pi Dream”. A Cha-pi is a musical instrument, like a Montagnard “harp,” I suppose. It’s a wooden cylinder with taut strings around the body of the cylinder. Well actually it’s not like a harp at all. You can just google “Chapi instrument” to see it. Perhaps I will translate the lyrics sometime, too.

Anyway, the song is quite beautiful. Hope you enjoy it.

I don’t own the video, all rights belong to the respective owner(s).

04-09-2010 Dem Ca Nhac ‘Tieng Hat Vi Nguoi Ngheo’

Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Toronto ON – September 04, 2010: Dem Ca Nhac Tieng Hat Vi Nguoi Ngheo

At the beginning of September, my friends and I had the honour to co-MC a special evening of faith, music, and charity. The Vietnamese Catholic community gathered during the visit of Father Nguyen Tan Sang (Cha Sang), a Vietnamese priest with a warm heart and a golden voice, who resides in Vietnam but occasionally travels to major cities during his time off to share his faith and organize charity events for the poor in Vietnam. His charity work helps orphans, the blind and sick, the elderly without caregivers, and the Vietnamese Montagnards among others, who receive little help or attention in communist countries like Vietnam. Bless his heart! 🙂

Well-known Vietnamese guest singers such as Son Ca and Giao Linh also lent their wonderful voices to the cause (though personally I prefer the local singers). A great amount was raised from the auction of two beautiful portraits alone. All in all, it was a very successful charity event thanks to the generosity of the community.

Once again, I leave you with some photos of the event. Photographer: Papa!

Enjoy!

Back after an unexpected absence

My absence was uncalled for. I didn’t know the summer term would have me so preoccupied. That, and I can be naturally quite lazy. But anyway, I’m back!

I went to Orange County in California for my cousin’s wedding during the last week of June. It was spectacular, unfortunately I had to miss the G20 protest which was on the same day as the wedding: June 26th, 2010. I stayed up to date with Toronto news while over there but I still wish I could have been in two places at one time. My friend posted a blog about his experience at the G20 protest that day, so if you’d like, you can head on over to his WordPress and read his very insightful thoughts: Que Huong Meets The Great White North. He also attended the uNAVSA conference in Washington D.C. Find him under the LINKS section to the left of my page.

PBC camping was last week — Trai An Tinh. I loved it, just completely loved it. It was the perfect weekend of bonding and appreciation (and horribly good mosquito bites). Didn’t shower while I was there, though. Haha! However, I did wash my hair in a sink, with the encouragement of our awesome VP Internal. Heehee. 🙂 I hope my younger brother and little cousin who came along have been inspired to get involved now. They are both such bright young minds.

PBC will be involved in an annual charity dinner in September, as well. It is to raise money for the families of Freedom Fighters in Vietnam, who constantly face the communist government’s injustice while advocating for humans rights and democracy within the country. I’m excited for that, but I hope we won’t get seated next to the speakers again as usual. 😛

My friends and I have gotten tickets to a once in a lifetime concert (well, for us, anyway)… X-JAPAN IN TORONTO!!! I freaked out after hearing about it and now we’ve got second row seats to the show on October 7th at Massey Hall. My friend woke up early to get those seats on the first day. I bow down to him, haha. Talk about a dream come true. I honestly never thought I’d get to see the grandfathers of J-rock, live on stage, ever in my lifetime. 😀

After that I also hope to hear the Dalai Lama’s public talk on October 22nd at the Rogers Centre. He will be talking about “Human Approaches to World Peace” and it’s always been my dream to meet him in person. He is one truly amazing and admirable soul. If you’d like to learn more about His Holiness’ visit to Toronto, see this site:

http://www.dalailamatoronto2010.org/

Time to get a steady job because I have a feeling I’m going to be totally broke by the start of the Fall term. 😦

Like my collection of JRR Tolkien novels, my list of Life Plans is ever growing. And it’s so nice to have one, too. I used to think I wanted to just settle down early after graduating, and I held a rather old-fashioned outlook on life. But after I started the list, I realized I could never go through with that because of all the things I truly want to experience and accomplish before becoming “tied down” to anything. I often find myself in conflict over the future. It really does feel like there’s so little time.

It’s fast approaching… can’t wait for SECOND YEAR!!!

I leave you with some PBC appreciation camp photos (my Papa didn’t take many). Good night!

PBC Trai An Tinh photos

The Jade Buddha at the 10th Anniversary of Phap Van Temple

Saturday, June 12th, 2010 saw the arrival of Phat Ngoc, the Jade Buddha, at Chua Phap Van (Phap Van Buddhist Temple, in Mississauga) during the week of the temple’s 10th anniversary. I visited the temple on the second night and it was beautiful!! Papa took lots of photos. Enjoy!