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tuannyriver

Website & blog of Tuan Hoang, Pepperdine University

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Catholicism

How many Vietnamese Catholic priests are there in the U.S.?

The short answer: There were about 900 Catholic priests of Vietnamese origin in the U.S. by 2012. There are approximately 950 at this time (2017), and probably more.

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Some participants in the fifth of a series called Emmaus, which are national gatherings among Vietnamese American priests. The 2013 gathering was held in Little Saigon, Orange County. ~ pc vietbao.com

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Catholic refugees, the age of priests, and money

“Do anything three times if possible,” goes my motto as a forty-something. Publish three books or articles on different topics but a common theme. Or, dance to three different songs but the same genre from the same period. Or, write three blog posts about the same subject matter in a row. Three books and articles I haven’t achieved.  But I’ve done the dancing bit and now I am doing the third thing.  My last two blog posts are about Vietnamese Catholic refugees in the U.S. during the 1970s and the 1980s, and this post rounds up the miniseries.

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Fr. Trần Văn Khoát and Catholic refugees in Beaumont and Port Arthur

My last post is about Ngô Đình Diệm’s older brother Archbishop Thục, who got mixed up with several reactionary groups during the 1970s and 1980s before reconciling with the Vatican and living out his last year among a religious order of Vietnamese men in Missouri.  Since then, I’ve read some more materials and learned about something I didn’t know before: a group of Catholic refugees led by a traditionalist and anti-Vatican II priest by the name of Trần Văn Khoát.
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The last years of Ngô Đình Thục

The only time that I’ve seen anyone related by blood to Ngô Đình Diệm – Ngo Dinh Diem for readers that are used to the English spelling – occurred exactly thirty-three years ago this month.  The town was Carthage, Missouri, best known as the American headquarters of a large Catholic order of Vietnamese American priests and brothers. The person was Ngô Đình Thục, Diệm’s older brother and the former archbishop of Huế. Along with tens of thousands of Vietnamese Catholics, I was attending the annual Marian Days weekend with my family and people from southern Minnesota. Unfortunately I don’t remember much about the Archbishop except that he presided over one of the masses with a visiting bishop from Vietnam.

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My memories of high school

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Mr. Kroska, RIP.  I took his class in tenth grade, the same year this photo was taken. ~ pc Lourdes Foundation

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Research article on Catholic clergy sexual abuse

Most historical research articles published in academic journals come between 8000 and 12,000 words each, notes included.  They translate to approximately 16-30 pages long, depending on formatting.   Occasionally, however, a journal may choose to publish a considerably longer article.  In the last three months, I’ve read three such long articles: 49, 70, and 75 pages, respectively, and wrote up on one of them.

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Pope and refugees in Thailand, 1984

On the second day of his visit to the U.S., Pope Francis stopped his motorcade and picked up a five-year-old Mexican American girl who tried to give him a letter and T-shirt.  Seeing it in evening news reminded me of another pontiff that visited a refugee camp and picked up a little girl from the ground.  It was John Paul II at the Phanat Nikhom Refugee Camp during his papal visit to Thailand in May 1984.

At the time, Phanat Nikhom held thousands of refugees from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.  Among the Vietnamese were “boat people” as well as “land refugees,” that is, they left over land rather than sea.  International and media focus on post-1975 Vietnamese refugees was typically on the “boat people.”  But there were many that left by other means, including crossing through the land mass of southern Vietnam and Cambodia to reach the borders of Thailand.

01 Jan 1985, Aranya Prathet, Thailand --- Cambodian refugees at the Red Hill refugee camp, near the Thai-Cambodian Border. 60,000 people fled to the south as fighting increased between Khmer-Vietnamese troops and the FNLPK (Khmer People's National Liberation Front), one of the three groups making up the anti-communist resistance. --- Image by © Alain Nogues/CORBIS SYGMA
01 Jan 1985, Aranya Prathet, Thailand — Cambodian refugees at the Red Hill refugee camp, near the Thai-Cambodian Border. 60,000 people fled to the south as fighting increased between Khmer-Vietnamese troops and the FNLPK (Khmer People’s National Liberation Front), one of the three groups making up the anti-communist resistance. — Image by © Alain Nogues/CORBIS SYGMA

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Cradle Catholic – ridiculous phrase; who invented it?

Along with three Pepperdine colleagues, I participated in a faculty panel at a gathering of a Lilly Graduate Fellows cohort in Malibu on August 3 of this year.  Academic in setting, the atmosphere nonetheless leaned towards the personal.  So were the reflections from the panel, mine included. My appreciation goes to my Great Books colleague Jane Rodeheffer for the invitation, and to Michael Ditmore for comments on an earlier draft of this still half-baked reflection.

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L to R: Kolby Knight (UC Santa Barbara), Tuan Hoang, David Holmes, Jennifer Smith, Mason Marshall, and Arlin Migliazzo (Whitworth College). Migliazzo and Jane Rodeheffer serve as mentors to this cohort of fellows ~ Photo courtesy of Mary Beth Fraser Connelly

“Cradle Catholic – Ridiculous Phrase; Who Invented It?”:
My Religious Upbringing & Historical Sensibility

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