From Boat Person to a Catholic Bishop

Bishop-elect Vincent Nguyen

Bishop-elect Vincent NguyenA Vietnamese refugee who came to Australia in a refugee boat has been appointed a Catholic Bishop in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen was 18 years old when he, and his family, fled communism in 1980.

The Apostolic Nunciature in Australia advised Archbishop Denis Hart yesterday that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Fr Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv as Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Welcoming the appointment, Archbishop Denis Hart said today: “The appointment of Bishop Vincent as auxiliary in Melbourne is a historic one. He escaped from Vietnam by boat as a young man, came to Melbourne, joined the Conventual Franciscans, and has already given distinguished service as a pastor in Springvale, as a leader in his order and has made a generous and gifted contribution to the Church.”

“We welcome him warmly as he returns from Rome, and look forward to his ordination as Titular bishop of Tula in St Patrick’s Cathedral on Thursday 23 June at 7.30pm. He is in our prayers at this important moment.”

After the fall of Saigon, three brothers settled in Holland, a sister is still in Vietnam and his parents and a brother and a sister are in Melbourne.

In 1983, Bishop Nguyen became a Conventual Franciscan friar and studied for the priesthood in Melbourne.

After his priestly ordination on 30 December 1989, he was sent to Rome for further studies and was awarded a licentiate in Christology and Spirituality from the Pontifical Faculty of St Bonaventure. He served as a parish priest for 4 years in Kellyville NSW and for 7 years in Springvale.

He was elected superior of the Order of Friars Minor Conventuals in Australia in 2005. Since 2008, he has been in Rome serving as Assistant General, responsible for the Asia-Oceania section of order.

The Bishop returns to Melbourne from Rome at the end of May.

 

Source: Australian Catholic Bishops Conference