Vietnam’s youngest diocese has new apostolic administrator
Church people from Ha Tinh Diocese offer flowers to Bishop Louis Nguyen Anh Tuan in the Ho Chi Minh City Archbishop’s House. (Photo courtesy of tgpsaigon.net)
Pope Francis has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Louis Nguyen Anh Tuan as apostolic administrator of Ha Tinh Diocese in the North Central region of Vietnam following the resignation of its bishop.
The pope accepted the resignation of the 76-year-old Dominican Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop and placed the diocese under the care of Bishop Tuan, who currently serves in Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese.
Father Peter Nguyen Doai, chancellor of the Ha Tinh Bishop’s House, made the announcement on March 19.
Father Doai said the local church thanks the pope, and warmly welcomes and prays for Bishop Tuan in his new mission.
He also urged local Catholics to express their heartfelt gratitude to Bishop Hop, who had served Vinh Diocese for eight years and became the first bishop of Ha Tinh Diocese in 2018, when it was created from territory taken from Vinh Diocese.
Bishop Hop, a former head of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam, was known for speaking out against violations against human rights and religious freedom and for supporting democracy and victims of social injustice.
Local Church sources said Bishop Tuan, 58, who was ordained an auxiliary bishop in 2017, had been tipped to fill either of the vacant dioceses of Hai Phong or Phat Diem in the north but the moves were not approved.
It was thought this might be because he has spent much of his ecclesiastical life studying and serving in the southern city.
The sources said Bishop Hop, who was 76 in February, nominated another episcopal candidate to succeed him but the Holy See named Bishop Tuan, who serves as head of the country’s Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
Born in the central province of Quang Nam, the new apostolic administrator was ordained a priest in Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese in 1999. Between 2001-2006, he studied at the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences and the Pontifical Gregorian University in RomeBishop Tuan is expected to take up his new role in Ha Tinh on April 29.
Ha Tinh Diocese has 150 priests serving some 300,000 Catholics in the two provinces of Ha Tinh and Quang Binh.