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Old Saigon Echo website
from 2008 - 2012
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Director: Bai An Tran, Ph.D.

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Vietnam refugee made bishop

*A REFUGEE who arrived on a boat 30 years ago has become the first

Vietnamese-born Australian Catholic bishop. *

Fr.-Vincent-Long-Van-Nguyen1

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, 49, arrived in Australia with his family in

December 1981.

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart said yesterday that Bishop Nguyen, a

Franciscan, had been an outstanding pastor at Springvale in Melbourne and at

Kellyville in Sydney.

He was currently serving in Rome as assistant-general of his order,

responsible for Australia and Asia.

He is the first Vietnamese-born priest to make bishop in Australia, at a

time when Vietnamese Catholics are assuming an increasing importance in the

church.

There are more than 150 Vietnamese-born priests in Australia.

"This is an excellent, historic appointment," Archbishop Hart said.

He said seven out of Melbourne's 30 students for the priesthood were of

Vietnamese background, and two more seminarians were being trained to work

in Hanoi

"They are people who have suffered, people who value freedom and people who

value their faith," Archbishop Hart said.

"They are a very strong presence in many parishes and their faith and

closeness to the church is an inspiration."

Bishop Nguyen and his family fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon.

Three of his brothers are in The Netherlands and his parents, a brother and

a sister are in Melbourne.

He joined the Conventual Franciscans and studied for the priesthood in

Melbourne. After his ordination in 1989, he was sent to Rome for further

studies.

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