Eucharistic Fire (Lửa Thiêng Thánh Thể)is a traditional practice in the training camps of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement; used to conclude a Eucharistic day. The flames of Eucharistic Fire symbolize the love and presence of God. The skits/acts within Eucharistic Fire help the camp trainees understand and learn about the History of God’s Salvation.
Within the training camps of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement, every camp day is designated by a theme, a model of living. Depending on the duration of the training camp, daily themes are selected and organized correspondingly. There is the day of Prayer, day of the Eucharist, day of Sacrifice, day of Apostleship, a day of Sowing for the trainees, and the nights of artistic performance with traditions like “Cultural Night”--which demonstrates a love for homeland and revitalizes the spirit of the Nation; “Saints’ Night”--which illustrates the love and gratitude to the hero/ine Martyr figures of Vietnam whose bloodshed became a seed of faith and a model for us in our own spiritual lives; “Mid-Autumn Festival Night”; other nights like “Consecration to Mary,” “Eucharistic Fire”, etc.
In the inceptive decades of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement, there were many observed parallels between the activities of the Eucharistic Youth Movement and the Scouts movement ranging from songs, games, chants/cheers, choreography, specialized skills, training camps, etc. Such parallels are easily explained as many of the Chaplains and Youth Leaders who pioneered the Movement held the Forestry Merit Badge of Boy Scouts. They had the drive to introduce the Scouts’ natural methods of education to The Eucharistic Crusade, an organization that prioritized prayer and gathered Catholic youth. Alongside the natural educational methods that attracted the youth, the chaplains carefully and methodically introduced and guided the youth in their own spiritual lives, to live in union with Jesus in the Eucharist in all parts of daily life.
With the months and years of rapid and robust development, the Movement gradually Biblicized its various activities and changed the names to be aligned with the spirit and tradition of Christianity. For instance the secular term “Training Camp” became “Training Camp in the desert/wilderness” in the spirit of the Old Testament wherein God brought the Israelites into the Wilderness/Exile to be purified for 40 years.
The designation “Eucharistic Fire" emerged beginning in 1971, along with several different amendments to the standardized Bylaws that were put into practice during a trial period of 3 years. In 1974, after the Diocesan or Episcopate Commission on the (Apostle/Catholic) Laity reviewed and standardized copies of the Bylaws for the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement, these amended initiatives were made official and applied on a national level. From then on, the “ Eucharistic Fire” became integrated into the Movement’s various training camps. Such is a positive change and renaming. From where did it receive such a name? And what is the meanings/significance and purpose of the “Eucharistic Fire?” Within the scope of this writing, we, the National Academic Headquarters will endeavor to rearticulate the vision of the various pioneering Chaplains and Youth Leaders. We hope that it will help Youth Leaders ascertain and precisely understand the meanings/significance of the “Eucharistic Fire” so that they may recreate and carry out this initiative faithfully to the mission of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement in the United States of America.
A. Meanings/significance of Fire
|Natural Fire||Supernatural Fire|
|1||Source of Light||The Presence of God
|2||Source of Warmth||Zeal and Fear of God
|3||Source of Protection: from wild animals||
|4||The betterment of life: cooks food||Cleanse and Purification (Isa 6: 6 - 7)|
|5||Source of change: burns down unnecessary things to be renewed/rebuilt||Source of resurrection – The Easter Fire|
|6||Source of destruction, obliteration||Source of Punishment
B. Meaning and name
The designation “Eucharistic Fire” is a compound phrase comprising the two words, “Holy Fire” and “Eucharist”
- “Sacred Fire” describes the spiritual fire that exists within - the fire that burns zealously and fearfully for the Lord
- “Eucharist” denotes Jesus Christ in the Eucharist
C. Meanings of Eucharistic Fire
The significance of Eucharistic Fire within the context of training camps in the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement can amount to two subsequent meanings:
- Offer up all the sacrifices, hardships, highs and lows of the training camp day and ask God to accept it as a burnt offering. In return, that He may grant happiness and peace.
- It expresses our wish to feel the presence of and understand God better through the various acts; to instill in the youth a love of Jesus in the Eucharist, so that the youth may put into live fully as a faithful witness.
As such, Eucharistic Fire concludes the day of the Eucharist and initiates a new challenge in the training camp: the Journey of Faith.
A. Ideal Model Figure
- Jesus in the Eucharist - Jesus must be the centerpiece and model of studiousness for all camp participants.
B. Educational methods
- Understand the Bible through the various acts
- To share experiences with faith through the various acts
- To foster the spirit of family and brotherhood/sisterhood and to become unified
- To help chapter members become more animated, Giúp đoàn viên trở nên hoạt bát, resourceful: development of singing skills, dancing skills, musical skills, and acting skills
The foundation of the content needs to be based on the Bible and the sacred tradition of the Catholic church. The content can be different depending on the goal and the audience of each camp in the Eucharistic Youth Movement.
A. The main parts of the Eucharistic Fire
The Eucharistic Fire in every camp is divided in three parts about the history of God’s Salvation. Each part is tied with the Holy Trinity. Below is the summary of each part. The detailed procedure of the Eucharistic Fire will be noted at the bottom of this page.
|I. Introduction||Introducing the meaning and transition of natural fire to supernatural fire; from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
||This part talks about the creation of God the Father – The Creation|
|II. The Performance||Teams perform each performance in biblical sequences, from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
||All the performance should revolve around the history of God’s Salvation – The Salvation. God the Son is the centerpiece and an idol for the children to look up to.|
|III. Conclusion||Inviting God to enter our hearts
||The image of the Descent of the Holy Spirit – The Pentecost. May the Lord come and dwell in the hearts of each one of us.|
B. The basic essentials in the Eucharistic Fire
- The content must be based on the Bible. The performances should be in order from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
- The goal of the Eucharistic Fire is to perform a skit/play from the Bible; it is not a comedy skit, a concert or a show, but a play.
- Be creative in each role, but use the appropriate time frame and language for the characters. Do not change or make up new characters or phrases in the Bible.
- Prioritize the educational purpose, especially about faith. If needed, sacrifice humour to ensure the acting maintains the educational meaning.
- Each performance should carry a lesson that applies to modern life.
- Costumes are an important factor to determine the success of the performance; avoid cross-gendering.
- Pay attention to time limits. Each performance should be between 7 to 10 minutes.
- Songs, dance, games, chants or transitional skits to introduce the next play should be included between performances to help make the Eucharistic Fire become livelier.
Essentials Roles in the Eucharistic Fire
A. Quản Lửa/ Bonfire Coordinator
- Prepare wood, fire and the location of the fire.
- Know the content and the order of performances to change the fire based on the setting of each part.
B. Quản Trò/ Narrating Coordinator
- Lead and guide the contents of the performances.
- Summarize the content and deliver the lesson tied to the play if they are not properly conveyed by the performing team.
- Work with Quản Ca (Musical Coordinator) with transitional activities to keep the Eucharistic Fire smooth and active.
C. Quản Ca/ Musical Coordinator
- Chuẩn bị sẵn sàng và chọn những bài hát, băng reo, vũ điệu thích hợp với các tiết mục.
- Ứng phó nhanh nhẹn, vui tươi, linh động.
- Cộng tác mật thiết với Quản Trò.
Procedure of the Eucharistic Fire
- Move to (or stay) at the location for the Eucharistic Fire. (Begins in total silence, in a state of darkness; like a soul filled with sin).
- Explain the meaning of the fire (lead by Eucharistic Fire Committee Head).
- The Word of God (Many ways to read: one person read; multiple people read; each person reads a line).
- Call Fire (sing Gọi Lửa. Sing the song several times, each time faster than the previous time).
- Light the Fire (Camp Chaplain or Camp Master).
- Welcome the Fire (Chào Lửa Thiêng dance).
- Give an Opening Chants.
- Introduction, Greet Guests.
B. Introduction of the Performances
- Quản Trò (Narrating Coordinator) introduces the main idea of the performance. Do not introduce team names or people.
- Perform the play. Do not practice during the Eucharistic Fire. When finished go back to your seat to attend and support other teams.
- Go in depth with the Bible and catechism by a summarized ending.
- Punish appropriately. Sometimes, if it is a serious matter, have it fixed immediately.
- Apply a song, cheer, dance, or game as well as a transitional story for the next performance.
- End with “Câu Chuyện Tình Thương”.
- Ending Fire Story
- Critique each performance
- Advice from the Camp Chaplain or Camp Master about faith, humility...
- Mang Lửa Về Tim
- Bring the burning Eucharistic Fire to warm the soul.
- Sing slower and softer gradually.
- Camp participants disperse from the campfire area individually and quietly.