St. Joseph Freinademetz Communication Center, Inc.

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Proclaim Jesus, Bishop Tells Communicators at Msgr. Tai Memorial

A day of remembrance and looking forwardRadio Veritas Asia (RVA) and St. Joseph Freinademetz Communication Center, Inc. (JFCC) commemorated the first death anniversary of Msgr. Pietro Nguyen Van Tai with a memorial-symposium on April 21. Some 100 priests, religious and lay people came to the event held at the RVA studios in Fairview, Quezon City.

In his homily, Bishop Mylo Hubert C. Vergara said people who have encountered the priest from Vietnam ought to be challenged to do what he had done in his life, that is, proclaim Jesus.

Reflecting on Scripture readings, the Bishop-chairman of the CBCP (Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines) Episcopal Social Communication Commission said Msgr. Tai was a reluctant prophet like Moses. He was also like the shepherd David who, relying only on Divine Wisdom, fought against the Goliath of Communism in his native Vietnam.

Msgr. Tai's trust in God made him one of the cornerstones of the continental station RVA where he served as coordinator in August 1978. He became the station's program director in 1990 overseeing content, production and transmission of as many as 17 language programs throughout Asia.

Past and present employees of RVA and friends came to the symposium which was themed "Msgr. Pietro Nguyen Van Tai - Communicator and Educator in the Service of Vietnamese People."

It started with resource speaker Prof. Dr. Ma. Stella Tirol of the University of the Philippines at Los Banos discussing realities, issues and challenges of radio broadcasting in the Philippines.

RVA's Vietnamese Language Coordinator Fr. John Baptist Thanh The, op followed with a talk on Msgr. Tai as the voice of and for Vietnam. The successor of Msgr. Tai in the language service also showed a video of listeners telling how RVA broadcasts have nurtured their faith.

RVA Program Director Fr. Gabriel Htun Myint from Myanmar then recalled technological advances Msgr. Tai lobbied for to improve the station's reach and serve more people.

The priest's concern for people was further illustrated by German priest of Vietnamese origin, Fr. Anh Vu Ta, in a talk about Msgr. Tai's care for refugees pouring into Philippines after the Fall of Saigon in April 1975.

Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa then shared his memories of working in asylum seekers' camps with Msgr. Tai and a religious sister from Vietnam.

The archbishop chaired the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant Peoples from 1995 to 2005. He and another prelate guest, Bishop Antonio Tobias of Novaliches, con-celebrated the Mass presided by Bishop Vergara.

During the symposium, RVA and JFCC co-released the posthumous booklet "I will sing of your great love O Lord (Ps. 89:1), Life and Works of Msgr. Pietro Nguyen Van Tai."

In his closing remarks, JFCC board member Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, svd, recalled Msgr. Tai as a man of prayer. His love for academics made him a cooperator of the social-pastoral communication graduate program at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

In this spirit and concern, Msgr. Tai co-founded and pioneered JFCC, which since 2009 holds communication formation activities following the example of its patron, St. Joseph Freinademetz.

The chapel of the Center has a life-sized sculpture of the Lady of La Vang (Vietnam), given by the German bishops' conference in 2008. (April 22, 2016)