THE SPIRIT OF THE HY-VONG COMMUNITY.
The words UNITY and PEACE offer an insight into what we are trying to achieve.
The founder of the Community was Fr Bryan Strangman M.S.C. The following letter to the Hy-Vong Community by Fr Strangman explains these aims more fully.
"I want to speak to you about a very simple aim. It is that we must try to become `one'; to build up unity together. It will influence all we do together and help us meet all our problems.
This aim is a real challenge and it is probably very hard to be convinced of its value. You are the victims of disunity. You are tempted to believe that the unity of mankind is an impossible dream. You have already understood that in every person there is an urge to break unity. It happens every time we do something `selfish' or try to get `power' over others, or act unkindly.
But, in every person there exists the ability to build unity: to make your group a happy group, to get to. know Australians, to share your time , your money, your possessions, to help one another in studies and in keeping our home tidy.
You already have a unity arising from your suffering; living in Vietnam, leaving Vietnam, the agony of the transit camps, the long waiting for a country to accept you, the sad memories.
It is good for you to realise that this suffering can make you into brothers. Some good can come out of suffering. Christians believe that their own suffering can help redeem the world.
Even if you are not a Christian it is surely better to believe that peace and unity among people are possible, that they are not impossible dreams.
How do we begin to build up unity and build a new and better world together ? Well, we start first with OURSELVES by trying to be the first to love - that is, the first to smile, the first to say `good morning', the first to help others. And we will find that if we change ourselves in this way, the world will change with us.
We have to keep trying to be one ourselves and among other Australians and this can be very hard when people reject us after we have tried. This is when we are called to love with a ‘double love’ or ‘to turn the other cheek’, as Christians say. Every smile, every act of kindness, even to those who do not like us, helps us to build up the civilization of love.
This is very important, not only for us to live together, but also for us to help build a new kind of Australia. Our hearts and our homes have to be open to every person without exception: Vietnamese, Cambodians, Loatians, Thais, Chinese, Cubans, Chileans, Turks, Afghans and Australians. Christians believe that they will never live with God in Heaven if they do not welcome God on Earth. They believe that God said to them that if they welcome the stranger they welcome Him.
To help us all to live in unity we should try to be one in mind and heart by living a `Word of Life' for each month. Thousands of Christians and Non-Christians do this all the time, all over the world, even in Russia. They are words from Jesus. They have a meaning for all because they are always very simple words and say nearly the same thing each time. Often Jesus would say to people ‘The Kingdom of God is very close to you’. He would say this to people who wanted to believe in peace, in unity and in love. If because of what you have suffered, you WANT to believe in these things, well, that is enough to start with.
SO let us start, and let us see what beautiful things will happen with this WORD living among us.”
Fr. Bryan Strangman. M.S.C.(Sept 1980)