Society Matters | Volume 32 No. 2 | Winter 2022 [Vietnamese]

7 Volume 32 No. 2 | Winter 2022 Society Matters “My future ministry plan is to be able to work with migrants and refugees and although at this stage I have not been in contact with any of them, I hope that in the future this will change,” he said. “For me, the most important thing in ministry is to be in contact with the people, listening to them, learning from them and accompanying them. “In these past few months, in which I was doing my experience in the parish, my confidence has grown, because the people I have met have received me and welcomed me so well.” Simon said his Overseas Training Program and experience of theological studies in Australia made him grow as a person and opened his mind to new possibilities. “Working in different pastoral ministries in Australia and living with many people from different cultures, traditions and religious denominations has reaffirmed my vocation as a Divine Word Missionary,” he said. “Today, I can say that my experiences of formation and study in Australia have helped me to live my missionary life in Switzerland in an optimistic and holistic way.” Snapshot of the SVD Europe Central Province The Europe Central Province includes Austria, Switzerland, France and Croatia. Official languages: Austria – German, Croatia – Croat, Switzerland – German, French, Italian and Romansh, France – French. Societal Setting: The situations of the countries are quite different due to the various historical developments. A political tendency observed in all four countries is that in recent years the number of political parties has increased, formed by those who try to defend their own identity, mostly at the expense of what appears to be foreign. Behind this trend there are the uncertainties caused by financial crises, refugee flows and international terrorism standing at the doorstep. Ecclesial Setting: The number of vocations is generally decreasing or rather modest in all four countries. France is characterised by a strong separation between Church and state, although in urban areas, the Church is experiencing an upswing, mainly through immigration. The Catholic Church in Germany is currently engaged in its ‘Synodal Way’ process of theological discussion and reflection. The shortage of priests in Switzerland has led to many structural changes and accompanying pastoral problems. In Austria there are still partially favourable conditions for the Church in the rural areas. While in Croatia, the Church still plays an important role in the lives of many people. Pastoral priorities: The Europe Central Province was officially established on May 1, 2016. It has taken over the priorities of the former province of Switzerland (Primary and New Evangelisation) and of the province of Austria (Primary and New Evangelisation – Migration – Family and Youth).These priorities are focused on pastoral work in various parishes, especially in extremely multicultural and multi-religious environments.