Gathering to Witness!

August 3, 2023
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
For most of July, I was away on a family trip to Vietnam. It was a joy to visit the country where my parents grew up and the place of my cultural heritage. One of my favorite aspects of the trip was using the parts of Vietnamese culture that my parents taught me since I was young and seeing how it fit in it’s fuller context. I was especially grateful for the gift of the Vietnamese language that my parents handed on to me, even though my skill in speaking Vietnamese is not the greatest, I could communicate and connect with family and friends over there.

On the trip, I was able to visit many different places. The first week involved a lot of homecoming visits with my parents who have not been back since they fled the country in 1975. It was beautiful to catch a glimpse of what my parents’ lives were like before everything was changed for them. I was also glad that I got to meet family members that I never knew I had. One of my favorite places that we visited was an orphanage in Saigon that my sister’s religious community runs. It was a joy to get to know the kids, play chess with them, and to pray with them.

The other weeks were filled with fun adventures such as paddling through the rivers, lakes, mountains, and caves of Tràng An, scuba diving in Phú Quốc, and 4-wheeling over the sand dunes of Mũi Né. Of course, we made sure to get our fill of Vietnamese food while we were there.

I am grateful for the time I got to spend with my family on vacation. Being over there made me greatly appreciate being here at St. John’s, especially as I was making my way back to the United States. St. John’s is home and I am thankful that the Lord has placed me here at His service and the service of His people.

In Christ,
Father Joseph Nguyen
Parochial Vicar