Solidarity with Persecuted Christians Around the World
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Knights of Columbus of the Diocese of Orange welcome Bishop-elect Rev. Thanh Thai Nguyen.
He will become the diocese’s second auxiliary bishop, with a focus on ministering to the spiritual needs of America’s largest Vietnamese Catholic community.
“Bishop-elect Nguyen was born in Vietnam in 1953 and is the second oldest of eight boys and three girls. He spent most of his elementary education in Catholic schools and in 1966 he entered St. Joseph Seminary, a small diocesan institute in Vietnam. His seminary formation was interrupted when the communist government took over the country in 1975. Bishop-elect Nguyen and other seminarians were forced into hard labor in the rice fields to be allowed to continue their studies.
In 1979, after suffering religious persecution, Bishop-elect Nguyen, along with 26 members of his extended family, boarded a small motorboat and slipped out of Cam Ranh Bay – headed for the Philippines and safety. The family was soon engulfed by a tropical storm and spent 18 days at sea, several with no food or water. The family prayed the Rosary together each morning and evening. All 26 of them, through the Grace of God, arrived safely in the Philippines. After 10 months in a refugee camp, the family left Manila in June of 1980 for their new life in Beaumont, Texas.
Upon arriving in the United States, Bishop-Elect Nguyen’s vocational calling continued to draw him toward God. He worked at Catholic Charities in Hartford, Connecticut before returning to his priestly formation at Merrimack College in N. Andover, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. After two years of study he graduated Cum Laude and immediately began his novitiate year in Washington D.C. and took his first vows with the La Salette Order in 1987. Bishop-Elect Nguyen graduated from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge, Massachusetts in May 1990 and was ordained on May 11, 1991.”
photo from Orange County Catholic