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Director: Bai An Tran, Ph.D.

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Speech of Mr. Bai An Tran

SPEECH OF MR. BAI AN TRAN,

PRESIDENT OF THE VIETNAMESE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY, Inc.
IN THE CEREMONY CELEBRATING THE DONATION
OF THE SINGLETON PROPERTY
TO SAN JOSE DIOCESE

Dear:   Bishop Patrick McGrath
Rev. Fathers, religious members
Ladies and Gentlemen

mr. bai an tran in the reconciliation ceremonyTwenty-seven years ago, in these days of May 1975, the first wave of Vietnamese who fled the Communists, left Vietnam in their boats and rafts drifting aimlessly in the open sea. Afterwards, a number of our families came and resettled in the diocese of San Jose. Father Joseph Tinh Van Nguyen, still with black hair not white as right now, gathered the Vietnamese Catholics in the area. We went picking peppers under a blazing sun in the Morgan Hill fields, recycled old newspapers and aluminum cans; and with our meager contributions, we were able to buy this property. Since then, we have treasured it as our beloved ancestral home. We will forever be grateful to Father Tinh for what he has done for us. We are able to maintain and improve it as it is today with material contributions from the faithful, and spiritual guidance from clerics everywhere; among them we are happy to mention and grateful to all the priests who served at Singleton, such as Father Dinh Van Do, Father Chinh Nguyen, late Father Tuong Thanh Vu, who served with Father Tinh Van Nguyen at the beginning; then later Father Thien Kim Tran, Father Thien Quy Tran, Father Thuy Quang Pham, Father Hai Quoc Nguyen, Father William Strout, Father Khanh Quoc Bui and Father Tan Manh Nguyen.

How time flies! It has been 27 years. Thanks to the compassion and concern of the San Jose Diocese, we, the Vietnamese Catholics, have been given what no other Vietnamese Catholic community in the U.S. has:

- A Vietnamese Personal Parish with Rev. Msgr. Dominic Dinh Van Do as the current pastor,

- Many Vietnamese congregations, among which is the Vietnamese congregation at St. Maria Goretti, with Rev. Luc The Phan as our spiritual leader, - A Vietnamese Cultural Center, and

- An office in charge of Vietnamese ministry with Rev. Hien Minh Nguyen as Vicar. The Bishop has complete confidence in Father Hien to the point that he has once mentioned to the Vietnamese faithful that listening to Fr. Hien is listening to him.

- Today, we have, in addition, a Chapel of the Vietnamese Martyrs where their relics are preserved and venerated. No other place in the world has as many Vietnamese Martyrs’ relics as this chapel.

For all of this, we are sincerely grateful to Bishop Patrick McGrath and Bishop Pierre DuMaine and the entire San Jose Diocese. Our gratitude is expressed today by a concrete action, the donation of the property of our Vietnamese Catholic Community, Inc. to the diocese.

To St. Maria Goretti Parish, we owe an expression of profound gratitude:

- We thank St. Maria Goretti Parish for first Vietnamese-language Masses in San Jose being celebrated in its church.

- We thank our brother and sister parishioners from American, Filipino and Hispanic congregations in St. Maria Goretti’s for the love and support they have given our Vietnamese congregation.

- We thank Father Kevin Joyce, Pastor, for his letter dated March 28, 2002 which had been approved by Bishop Patrick McGrath. This chapel will continue to be used to honor Vietnamese Martyrs and to promote Vietnamese culture for many generations to come in the United States. Father Kevin is our exceptional and excellent pastor.

For 27 years, St. Maria Goretti parish has been a home close to our hearts. Today, enlightened by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we decided to donate to the diocese our property. With this property, St. Maria Goretti’s Parish facilities will become one and undivided bigger home. This is a home of God and of the Church.

It is regretted that today Bishop Pierre DuMaine is unable to attend this event due to his other commitments. Therefore, we respectfully ask Bishop Patrick McGrath to convey these sincere words of ours to Bishop Pierre DuMaine:

Today in front of high dignitaries and people of the diocese of San Jose, we recognize that in the past, there were instances when our petition for the establishment of a personal parish was expressed in a way which has created much misunderstanding and caused Bishop DuMaine much pain. Therefore, we sincerely apologize to him.

On the feast of Pentecost of this year of 2002, a new page of history has been written for the Vietnamese Catholic community. Any past discord among Vietnamese faithful has no reason to exist. In this spirit, we have many times asked Father Duong Dinh Luu to allow us to meet with him to clear up all misunderstandings in the past and to reconcile with him, but we have not received any response from him. So, today we sincerely apologize to Father Paul Duong for regrettable events in the past which have hurt his feelings.

History shows that the Church has continually been plagued with crises. However, each time the Holy Spirit has guided Her out of danger and back to safety, reconciliation, unity and compassion. And the Church has become stronger every time. Starting today, we earnestly ask that the community of the people of God allow us to work shoulder to shoulder with one another. Let us all be united and compete with each other in our support of and cooperation with the Bishop and the priests in our local parishes. Let us make our beloved parishes and diocese a better place to live, and to make our Catholic community healthier.

We pray to the Holy Spirit Whom the Church honors today to bestow His abundant grace on our Bishops, Rev. Fathers, religious members and all of us, so that we can be worthy to be children in one family of God. "TOGETHER IN CHRIST." (*)
Thank you.

PENTECOST, MAY 19, 2002

(*) Bishop Patrick McGrath's motto.

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