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Former Vietnamese refugee named US auxiliary bishop

Father John Nhan Tran was appointed auxiliary bishop of Atlanta archdiocese on Oct 25.
Father John Nhan Tran was named auxiliary bishop of Atlanta archdiocese on Oct. 25

Father John Nhan Tran was named auxiliary bishop of Atlanta archdiocese on Oct. 25. (Photo: WDSU New Orleans)

Published: October 26, 2022 07:15 AM GMT

A Vietnamese-American priest who fled from his home country nearly half a century ago has been appointed auxiliary bishop of a US archdiocese.

On Oct. 25, the Archdiocese of Atlanta announced that Pope Francis had named Father John Nhan Tran, a native of Vietnam, as its auxiliary bishop.

Bishop-designate Tran, 56, currently serves as pastor of Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church in New Orleans archdiocese.

“I am overjoyed to welcome bishop-designate John Tran to Atlanta. Our archdiocese is blessed with a diverse community of Catholics from around the world. Bishop-designate Tran reflects and celebrates this diversity," Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer of Atlanta said at a news conference.

Bishop-elect Tran accompanied by relatives left Saigon, capital of the former South Vietnam, by boat before communist forces took the city on April 30, 1975. He was then nine years old.

They ran out of water as they bobbed in the South China Sea and were rescued by a US ship.

After settling in the US, his father worked 12-14 hours a day washing cars at a dealership and doing gardening work and whatever else people would hire him to do to support his family.

Tran entered local schools and seminaries and gained a Master’s Degree in Divinity before he was ordained a priest for New Orleans archdiocese in 1992.

Bishop-designate Tran has served as both a parochial vicar and pastor in parishes throughout the New Orleans archdiocese. He has been active within the ministry supporting the Louisiana Vietnamese community.

“After several days of prayer and trusting that God will provide, I was able to embrace the appointment by Pope Francis. I am indeed humbled to serve as auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Atlanta," he said.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans said: “We congratulate him and assure him of our prayers as he assumes his new ministry. It is bitter-sweet as he will be greatly missed.”

Bishop-designate Tran’s episcopal ordination will take place on Jan. 23, 2023.

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