By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published June 23, 2017
COLLEGE PARK—Images of families spending time at home or practicing Marian devotions served as the visual backdrop for programs of the Vietnamese track of the Eucharistic Congress.
Hundreds attended the morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday, June 17, at the Marriott Gateway Hotel adjacent to the Georgia International Convention Center.
Bishop Joseph Chau Ngoc Tri, the bishop of the Diocese of Lang Són-Cao Bang, Vietnam, was the guest speaker for both sessions.
Born in 1956, Bishop Tri was ordained a priest in Da Nang, Vietnam, in 1989. He was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Da Nang in 2006. Pope Francis named him to his current post in 2016.
A committed servant of the needs of Vietnamese families in Vietnam and around the world, Bishop Tri serves as head of the Commission for Marriage and Family of the Vietnam Bishops’ Conference.
Danh Thanh Nguyen, chair of the parish council at Holy Vietnamese Martyrs Church in Norcross, was among those attending to hear Bishop Tri’s message.
“He’s concerned about the family,” said Nguyen. “That’s what he’s sharing.”
The bishop’s talk was tied to the theme of the Congress, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Nguyen, who came to Atlanta in 1998, was part of Holy Vietnamese Martyrs when it was a mission of Holy Cross Church in Atlanta. As a mission it had 400 families and has grown to 1,500 families. The archdiocese’s other Vietnamese parish, Our Lady of Vietnam Church in Riverdale, has also experienced tremendous growth.
Father Francis Tuan Tran, pastor of Holy Vietnamese Martyrs, said the congress is an important occasion for the Vietnamese community annually.
“We gather together as a family,” said Father Tran.
The pastor said organizers are considering splitting up track programs next year for young families and older people so the spiritual offerings are more relevant to stages in life.
Nguyen said the entire congress is an important event.
“It is central to our faith … the Eucharist, the real presence of the Lord,” he said.
It’s about more than gathering with the parish family, he said.
“You see the whole church. This is a big family,” said Nguyen.
Many in the Vietnamese community wear the traditional costume, or ao dai, for the Eucharistic procession of parishes and ministries at the convention center. Members of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement wear their scout-like uniforms, including colored scarves for the day. The movement encourages young people to live and spread the Gospel throughout their lives.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory visited the Vietnamese track to express his gratitude for their commitment to the faith.