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April 1: Research
and preparation

April 2: What a drive!

April 3: Heroes
suffering for
the faith

April 4: Why go
to Vietnam?

April 5: The Church
triumphant!

April 5: Cemetery prayers

April 6: Cat Ba
Island Mass like
the early Church

April 7: Visit with seminarians

April 8: Meeting the Sisters

April 8: Reflections

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Revs. Joseph Dai Xuan Nguyen, Tephano Hien Van Nguyen and Quang Minh Dong. Father Quang is a priest of the diocese of Oakland who is assigned to a parish in Las Vegas. The other priests spent years in jail for their faith.
Courtesy photo


Very Rev. George Mockel

April 3, 2014
Heroes suffering for the faith

We have all heard and read about those who suffered for the faith during the times of more blatant persecution of the church in Vietnam.

I met two such "heroes." Typical of "heroes," they would be the last to give themselves that appellation. However they are rightly held in great esteem by the people of their diocese and as models for the younger clergy.

Father Joseph Dai Xuan Nguyen (far left in photo in jacket) spent 16½ years in prison. He has what seems to be a perennial smile. He says they offered to release him if he would just promise to "go home and get married.”

His only wish? He would like to meet his prison guards to tell them that he has "forgiven them in his heart long ago." He has asked the government to put them in touch with him so he can do so. So far no response.

The other priest, Tephano Hien Van Nguyen (white shirt next to Father Quang) spent 19½ years in prison for his refusal to renounce the faith and the priesthood.

What strikes me about both of these men is their wonderful sense of humor and peace. What an example for the likes of me!

(Father Mockel is vicar general of the Diocese of Oakland and pastor at Santa Maria Parish in Orinda.)

 
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