In Vietnam, the state has to be asked if one should be ordained a priest. Sometimes, entering into a religious community is done secretly in order to avoid state controls. Ecclesiastic buildings, such as churches, parish buildings etc. can only be built with the permission of the state. Exercising religious beliefs freely is still heavily restricted even if the state opened up in the economic way and is very interested in international relationships. Our scholarship holder Sr. Therese Thi Thanh Thuy Nguyen spoke about all these facts in her exciting presentation about the "lived belief and the chances and challenges about the Catholic Church in Vietnam".
We had the pleasure to meet her and twelve more scholarship holders during our annual meeting in Leuven (08. – 10.11.2013). All our scholarship holders have an interesting personal story to tell and sometimes it has even influence on their chosen dissertation theme.
Thus, our scholarship holder Thomas Gigesh, who only started in October this year with his graduation, reports about his upcoming research trip to India. He will go there in January/February 2014. Father Gigesh wants to collect empiric dates among the farmers in North India as in his dissertation he is treating the frequently occurring suicides among them. They have an economic as well as a cultural background.
The scholarship holder meeting was a good occasion for academic presentations and discussions, but also for personal encounter which is the basis for a lasting and good relationship with our scholarship holders. It was for us not only an enrichment to hear Fr. Stephen Ebo Annan from Ghana speaking about his critical analysis of the understanding of the church in Ghana but also to know him better during lunch at the cafeteria of the Catholic University.
We are already looking forward to the meeting of 2014.
„MWI scholarships enable the future leaders of the church in Africa and Asia to acqire the knowledge they will need in thier future roles. There is hardly any way to help more directly and more personally than by supporting a scholarship holder.”
Cardinal Walter Kasper