The Eucharistic Youth Movement
was founded in Europe during World War I and was known as the Eucharistic
Crusade. Its purpose at that time was to pray, especially to the
Blessed Sacrament, for the conversion of hearts and the reconciliation
among the disillusioned youths affected by the War. Although the
Eucharistic Crusade was founded by a Jesuit, Pere Bessiere, S.J.,
it was brought to Hanoi, Vietnam, by the Sulpicians in 1929. By
1951, it had spread throughout the whole country and became an organized
movement in the early 1960's.
In 1964, in keeping with the spirit
of the Second Vatican Council, the Vietnamese Eucharistic Crusade
was transformed into the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement and
was approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and
the Government. This new transition integrated both prayer and apostolate
services. From 1964 to 1975, the Movement grew considerably in spirit
and in number. In order to accommodate the growth of the Movement,
the first National Convention, "Promised-Land I", was
held in 1972. Over 2,000 coordinating-leaders attended it. By 1975,
there were about 140,000 members, under the leadership of 3,800
coordinating-leaders serving in 650 parishes within 13 dioceses
in South Vietnam.
With the fall of South Vietnam
in 1975, the Society's activities ceased temporarily. However, with
the waves of refugees fleeing to new homelands, the Movement came
to life again. The Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement is currently
active in many different countries in the free world: Australia,
Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United States.
In 1993, the Vietnamese Eucharistic
Youth Movement joined hundreds of thousands of youth from all over
the world to attend the Pope's "World Youth Day", in Denver,
In Australia, there are about 1700 members in 17
Vietnamese Catholic communities and parishes under the direction
of 250 coordinating-leaders and chaplains: In order to correspond
to the growth and revival of the Movement, "The National Leaders
Convention I" was convened in December 1984 at Geelong, Victoria.
The goals of the Eucharistic Youth Movement are:
l. To educate youths in both social and spiritual
life and help them become better people and responsible Christians.
2. To organize and guide all youths and help them become more aware
of the Church's mission to the world by engaging in the spreading
or Good News, and be involved in working for the good of society
through apostolate services, in serving others.
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The objectives of the Eucharistic Youth Movement
1. To promote prayers for the Holy Father who is the Vicar of Christ
on earth and to pray for the needs of the whole Church.
2. To Promote constant devotion to the Eucharist,
to give thanks to God for the living bread and in turn share it
with others as Jesus did.
3. To honor Mary as a model for discipleship.
4. To Support the missionary efforts of the Church
through a life of prayers, sacraments, services, and sacrifices
based on the discernment of God's will.
In order to meet the above goals and purposes,
the Eucharistic Youth Movement uses suitable methods for the education
of its members, both in social and spiritual life. The Society bases
its education on two essential elements: the love of God in the
Eucharistic Sacrament and God's living Word in the Bible.
1. The Eucharistic Sacrament is the center of the spiritual life,
in which each individual starts his/her day with a morning prayer
with a deep desire to be ready for Holy Communion and to make sacrifices
with God in mind, through loving charitable activities and through
apostolate services. The day ends with minutes of silence and a
moment to record " A Bouquet of Spiritual Flowers" in
thanking God. All activities during the day is called a "Eucharistic
Day". Every day of life shall be "Days of Eucharist".
2. Living Words of God in the Bible is used as the Source of Inspirations.
Images and stages of the life of Jesus along with the sites in the
Bible, related to the different groups of youth are also used to
serve the natural method in educating all age groups (Seeding: 5-10,
Search: 11-13, Companion: 14-17). The gradual development proceeds
from easy-to-difficult. The real and workable activities such as
group meetings, training camps, seminars, public games, folk songs
and dances, studying and sharing God's Word, Annual Spiritual Retreat,
etc. are carried out with the educational goals of meditating and
interpreting God's Word.
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V. Three Stages
of Eucharistic Youth's Life
The Eucharistic Youth Movement stages are classified
into three groups in order to meet the needs of the different ages
of its members.
Step 1: SEEDLING
Seeding is a group consisted of two sub-group fledging
members between the ages of five to six and seven to ten years old.
Generally, the boys and girls at these ages are active, inquisitive,
and fond of nature. The members wear the pink (five to six) and
green (seven to ten) scarf, the verdant color of a young wheatling,
to symbolize their innocence and youthfulness. Like the wheat in
the field blowing with the wind, the youth members are easily adaptable
to new situations and receptive to new ideas. The group' s model
is the youth and obedient Jesus to his parents. The members learn
and practice obedience to God's will through the daily responsibility:
praising God for many blessings, obeying their parents and teachers,
helping and loving others.
Step 2: SEARCH
Search is a group consisted of pre-adolescent youths
between the ages of eleven and thirteen. Generally, the members
during these ages are becoming more aware of their physical and
emotional changes. During this transitional period into young adults,
they are confused and ambivalent to set rules imposed by authority
figures. They are searching for their own identity and the rationality
of their existence. Consequently, this nameless quest affects their
spiritual beings as well. The members wear the navy blue scarves
which symbolizes their unfathomed uniqueness and identity with a
great hope of life and society. The scriptural model for the group
is based on Jesus' hidden and evangelical life. Like Jesus, who
was patiently praying for a deeper knowledge of his mission, they
must find who they are in the solitude of prayer. Imitating Jesus,
who was willing to fulfill the Father's wills, the will learn to
accept who they are with gratitude. The members' natural inclination
to reason and question abstract thoughts and concepts is now integrated
into their development through concrete apostolate works.
Step 3: COMPANION
Companion is a group consisted of adolescents between
the ages of thirteen and sixteen. The adolescents at these ages
begin to consolidate their emerging values and beliefs. They start
to formalize their own identity and group dynamic. The basic needs
to love and be loved, to understand and be understood become the
beginning for friendship and cooperation among the members. Thus,
the cannery yellow scarf wore by the members symbolizes the sunrise
of the youths before coming into their adult ages, and the manifestation
of the heart, the opening of one's life to others. While the evangelized
Jesus is still the primary spiritual mode, Saint Paul is adopted
by the members as their inspiring patron figure. Like Saint Paul,
who became Christ's zealous disciple after his spiritual lightning-conversion
on the way to Damascus, the members constantly seek for God's will
and conversion of hearts. In addition, the members are encouraged
to familiarize with communal apostolates and to live out the spirit
of charity and generosity (Corinthian 13: 1-13).
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VI. Leadership and
The Coordinating-Leaders are those individuals who went through
the formation of the Movement from the Seeding to Companion group.
They know the charism and spirituality of the Movement. After specialized
periods of training, they are initiated to become leaders of the
four former groups. They wear the red, yellow stripe scarf which
symbolizes love, service, sacrifice, and responsibility.
Chaplains & Assistant Chaplains:
Priests who are responsible for the spiritual characteristic of
the Movement are appointed to be Chaplains. They shall invite seminarians
and religious members to be their Assistants. chaplains wear the
white, red stripe scarf; and Assistant Chaplains wear the red, white
stripe scarf which symbolizes the dedication to follow Christ.
The Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement in the Australia is managed
and directed by the National Council of the Chaplains and Coordinating-Leaders,
who are representatives of the Movement. The national Office is
currently located in Sydney. Geographically, the Movement is divided
in 7 regions. Each region has its own Regional Board of Chaplains
and Coordination-Leaders, consisted of many district groups of local
Vietnamese catholic communities, to coordinate with the National