Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lots of Catholic goodness this morning...

Not only do we have an awesome new priest that's settling in well at our parish, but we now have a new archbishop -- now the youngest Archbishop in the United States.  Whispers in the Loggia has a great piece on Bishop J. Peter Sartain, who is headed our way from the Joliet, IL diocese!

I've been working with Fr. Duc (seen above with the Wee Ski) at the parish as we've been developing the new parish website...set to launch in the next few days. 

He's the first Vietnamese priest that our parish has had...and he has been such a blessing to us in the past two months since he arrived.  He and my brother were in the seminary at the same time at Mt. Angel, and Fr. Duc was ordained in 2006 through our Archdiocese.

It was this excerpt from the Progress (our local Archdiocesan newspaper) that makes me realize how much I take the freedom to worship for granted.  And after being without a priest for several months after Fr. Terence passed away, it reminds you just how lucky we are that Fr. Duc survived and made it here.

It's especially poignant for our family, as I was just a freshman in high school when my parents took in 8 Vietnamese refugees into our home, having just escaped from Vietnam.  We had no idea how much we took the practice of our faith and our freedoms for granted.

The excerpt is below:
‘Happy to practice my faith’
Fifteen years after arriving in the U.S. with his family as political refugees, Father Duc Nguyen is grateful for the religious freedom he enjoys today.
“I don’t have to ask permission to attend meetings outside of my parish boundaries, which I either bribed the government [to attend] or was threatened to put in prison,” said the parochial vicar of St. Anthony Parish in Renton. “[I] am happy to practice my faith, to fulfill my dream of becoming a priest.” 
That dream wasn’t possible in his homeland. Father Duc and his ten siblings were denied the chance to go to college or for the boys to attend the seminary because their father had worked for the U.S. government. Branded a “betrayer,” he was imprisoned for seven years.
While it was “almost always OK” in Vietnam to go to the daily 4 a.m. Mass when he was growing up, Father Duc said he and others with an interest in the priesthood had to quietly gather for their monthly meetings because the “police would stop [us] if they knew what we were doing.”
He said his family’s strong faith in the midst of hardship got him through those tough times. Even today the family gathers nightly to pray the rosary.
“Without prayer, I am not sure how to survive until today,” he said.
But he said hardships also provide an opportunity for people to reflect on their lives and listen to God’s plan. Those suffering from the current economic downturn would be an example.
“We are so busy today with all” kinds of things, he said. “You need to find the plans that God has for you, and sometimes it’s [through] struggles we can see that more clearly.”
“Every Vietnamese priest, every Vietnamese person appreciates the freedom we have here in the United States.”

1 comment:

Louise said...

Your photos are amazing! I actually just moved to Mt. Angel and love it. Keep spreading that Catholic Goodness!

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