Prelate of Vietnam back in the diocese he served during the crackdown

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Bishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh of Hue appointed Apostolic Administrator of Nha Trang Diocese

Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh is seen here at the Phu Cam Cathedral in Hue on June 20. (Photo: tonggiaophanhue.org)

Published: July 25, 2022 at 05:31 GMT

Updated: July 25, 2022 at 05:48 GMT

An archbishop in central Vietnam has been appointed apostolic administrator of a diocese where he served during years of religious repression by the communist regime.

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh of Hue as the apostolic administrator of the diocese of Nha Trang, the diocesan bishop’s office announced on July 23.

Bishop Linh, 73, is the president of the Vietnamese Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

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He was born in Ba Lang Parish of Thanh Hoa Province on November 22, 1949 and moved with his family to the south in the 1954 exodus.

He studied philosophy and theology at local seminaries in Hue, Nha Trang and Da Lat from 1962 to 1977 and started working at Song My parish when religious activities were restricted by the regime.

Bishop Linh used to work in the fields and do odd jobs to support his family while quietly carrying out pastoral activities and training seminarians.

“Catholics owe a deep debt of gratitude to Archbishop Minh”

He was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Nha Trang in 1992 after restrictions on religion were eased. He studied at the Catholic University of Paris in France for his doctorate in philosophy until 2003.

Father Linh was ordained Bishop of Thanh Hoa, where he was born, in 2004 and 12 years later was appointed Archbishop of Hue.

The bishopric office of Nha Trang said the pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph Vo Duc Minh of Nha Trang submitted in 2019 when he reached the retirement age of 75.

The office said local Catholics owe a deep debt of gratitude to Bishop Minh, who is an expert on scriptures and promotes Marian devotion among them, for traveling with and making great contributions to the development of the local Church over the years. of the last 17 years.

In his letter to the local church after his resignation, he said he was grateful to the local priests, religious and laity who worked with him through the ups and downs of his church life.

The local population was introduced to Catholicism in the early 17th century and suffered severe religious persecution. They welcomed the French bishop Pierre Lambert de la Motte, first bishop of the vicariate of Dang Trong (Cochinchina) and his priests from Siam (now Thailand) in 1671.

The diocese of Nha Trang, created in 1957, today has 222,000 Catholics, including 11,000 villagers from ethnic minorities in 116 parishes served by 320 priests.

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