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New bishop aims to build bridges

Vietnamese bishop in Melbourne wants to connect Catholics in two countries

New bishop aims to build bridges
Conventual Franciscan Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Nguyen Van Long of Melbourne Archdiocese reporter, Ho Chi Minh city

June 16, 2011

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The new Vietnamese auxiliary bishop of Melbourne archdiocese says he wants to serve as a bridge connecting the Church in two countries. “I wish to serve as a small bridge connecting Catholic Vietnamese in Vietnam and Vietnamese Catholic communities in Australia, and connecting the Catholic churches in Australia and Vietnam,” said Conventual Franciscan Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Nguyen Van Long. Bishop Long was named auxiliary bishop of Melbourne archdiocese by Pope Benedict XVI on May 20. In an interview published on the Vietnamese bishops’ conference’s website on Monday, Bishop Long briefly spoke of his vision of the future. The 50-year-old bishop said he also wants to “journey with Catholics and people in Vietnam in an effort to seek truth, justice and other common values in a civilized society.” Vietnamese Catholics in overseas countries also work with local Catholics to look for a brighter future for the local Church and the nation, he added. Bishop Long said Vietnamese Catholic communities abroad have been taking active and major roles in developing churches in places like Australia, Canada and the United States.  In Melbourne archdiocese alone, there are over 30 Vietnamese priests working in local parishes, he added. The bishop, who fled to Australia by boat when he was 18 years old after the country was reunified under communist rule in 1975, quoted his episcopal motto Duc in altum (put out into the deep) to reflect on the suffering, sacrifice, tears and even death of numerous Vietnamese boat-people. People everywhere should remove barriers and work for the common good, he added. Meanwhile, Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Ha Noi, head of the Vietnam’s bishops’ conference, has sent a congratulatory message to Bishop Long. “Your appointment is a great honor for Vietnamese people and you are the fruit of faith of the Catholic Church in Vietnam,” Archbishop Nhon said. Born in 1961 in Dong Nai province in southern Vietnam, Bishop Long took his Franciscan vows in 1983 and was ordained a priest in 1989 in Australia.
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