Korean Catholics from the Diocese of Arlington Witness Pope Francis in South Korea!

Written by: Tschangho John & Moonja Kim

As soon as the Vatican confirmed on March 10, 2014 that Pope Francis would visit South Korea in August 2014, Moonja and I began to prepare to attend the Pope’s Masses with excitement.

Pope Francis’s visit would have significant impacts on Catholicism in Korea, where it was laypeople, not missionaries, who established the first Catholic communities in the peninsula in the 18th Century at the cost of many lives. The Pope Francis effect, as people have proclaimed, assisted with adding more than two million new Catholics to this growing Church, with this visit being one of the highest conversions of Catholics, and a big missionary spirit.

Our first Mass celebrated by Pope Francis was on Aug. 15 in Daejeon Stadium, located about 100 miles South of Seoul, where he delivered an inspiring sermon to thousands of young adults attending from all Asian countries for the celebration of Asian Youth Day. He encouraged the youth to recognize the differences among people and become the seeds for the harmonized unifying world.

At the second Mass on Aug. 16, Pope Francis celebrated the beatification ceremony for 124 Korean martyrs who were victims of persecution by kings in the Yi dynasty. Over one million people attended the Mass, stretching over a mile on the main boulevard in Seoul.

Mass of people in Korea - Pope visit

We were so lucky and blessed to have seats only about 30 yards from the Altar. We were able to hear so clearly his plea for us to listen to those in need in this society surrounded by materialism, by remembering the martyrs’ ultimate sacrifice.

During the parade to the Altar before Mass, Pope Francis stopped 15 times to kiss babies presented to him along the police line, hearing thunderous acclaims by millions, “Viva il Papa”.

Pope blessing baby in Korea


Black Catholic Priest, Father Augustus Tolton, up for Canonization

On September 29, 2014, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago held a prayer service in which he formally sealed the dossier local research aimed at making Father Augustus Tolton, the first recognized U.S. diocesan priest of African descent, a saint. The cause was originally opened by Cardinal George in 2010.

With the conclusion of this prayer service, the cause for Father Tolton’s canonization was officially sent to the Vatican, where all documents collected in support of his canonization will be reviewed and evaluated by theologians and, hopefully, passed onto Pope Francis, who will make the final determination.

Auxiliary Bishop Joseph N. Perry claims that, “Everything in the record of the case demonstrates that we had a saint among us and we hardly noticed. Father Tolton leaves behind a shining example of perseverance.”

Born in 1854, Fr. Augustus Tolton was born a slave on a plantation in Missouri. His father left in an attempt to join the Union Army during the Civil War and in 1862, his mother was lucky to escape with her three children and settle in Quincy, Illinois. After Tolton graduated from St. Francis Catholic School and moved onto St. Francis College, Franciscan Priests encouraged him to discern his vocation to the priesthood. However, no seminary in the U.S. would accept him. Eventually, Fr. Tolton moved to Rome and was ordained for the Propaganda Fidei Congregation in 1886. After this, he was sent back to Quincy, Illinois and served for three years, becoming the pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church, before moving to the Archdiocese of Chicago. In 1894, Fr. Tolton took the lead in building the St. Monica Church for Black Catholics.

Many Catholics throughout the Diocese of Arlington are actively engaged in praying for the cause of canonization for Fr. Tolton – join us and look for updates on our webpage; www.arlingtondiocese.org/multicultural.

New Pastor at Holy Martyrs of Vietnam

Written by: Marierose Hoang

The Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Catholic Church congregation in Arlington, VA
rejoiced in welcoming our new pastor, Father Peter Huong Pham, OP at a transition Mass on Sunday, September 14, 2014.

A few highlights on Father Peter Pham:

Father Peter Huong Pham was born in Tho Xuan, Thanh Hoa, Vietnam on September 12, 1952 and attendNew Pastor - Fr. Peter Phamed Vinh Son Liem high school in Go Vap Vietnam.  He studied philosophy and theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Thu Duc, Vietnam and has worked at a refugee camp in Palawan, Philippines (1965-1982).

He was ordained a priest at St. Vinh Son Liem Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada by Bishop Paul O’ Burn on July 28, 1985.

After obtaining a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) at St Thomas Aquinas University in Rome, Italy and a Master’s Degree in Psychological Education in Calgary, AB, Canada, Father Pham served as the director of Vocation of the St. Vinh Son Liem Vicariate (1990-1993).

Father Pham was the editor-in-chief of the quarterly Veritas Magazine (Tap San Chan Ly), an official organ of the Vietnamese Dominican Regional Vicariate of North America and Overseas (1993-1998).

Father Pham served as a Theology professor at the Dominican College in Go Vap, the Institute for Dominican Sisters in Phu Nhuan, and the Nguyen Van Binh Institute for all Religious Sisters and Nuns in Vietnam (1998-2003).

While serving as Prior at the St Martin De Porres Housefriary in Vancouver BC, Canada, Fr. Peter Pham was pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Vancouver, BC, Canada and served as the President of the Clergy and Religious Federation of Western Canada (2004-2010).

As Pastor of the Church of The Vietnamese Martyrs ( Cac Thanh Tu Dao Vietnam) Parish in Richmond, VA, Father Pham also served as the Vice President of the Federation of the Vietnamese Catholics of the US Mid- Atlantic Region (2010-2014).

Giving Neglected Coins to Neighbors in Need

Written by: Moonja Kim

St. Paul Chung Catholic Church held a campaign focused on helping neighbors in need throughout various communities by collecting parishioners’ piggy banks filled with coins. Led by Father Patrick In-Joon Chung, the campaign began on December 1, 2013 (the beginning of Advent) with a mass-distribution of plastic bags to all parishioners interested in participating. Eight hundred piggy banks were collected by January 12, 2014, raising a total of $11,205. This money was then donated towards helping single seniors without a family, the handicapped, ill, and those in constant need. Father Chung did not stop there – he encouraged his parishioners to think about their neglected neighbors whenever they place coins in their piggy banks, saying, “Through this campaign, it will provide opportunity to refresh our numbness toward neglected neighbors and to love them in action.”

The effort of collecting 800 piggy banks and counting thousands of coins provided a wonderful and worthwhile gathering of many parishioners from the St. Paul Chung community. Parishioners felt surrounded by love and generosity as they spent hours filling tiny paper rolls in which the coins were wrapped.   Many of these volunteers mentioned how much they loved this experience.  In addition to the coins, inside the piggy banks were paper money and some prayers and resolutions that the parishioners contributed to the church.  We hope to provide inspiration as we enter Advent 2014, by encouraging others to reach out to their neighbors in need.

Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Celebrates 35 Years

Written by: Marierose Hoang

The Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Church in Arlington, VA celebrated its 35th anniversary on September 6-7, 2014. The weekend celebration included several Masses celebrated by former pastors of the parish, two lecture/panel discussions (The Holy Martyrs of Vietnam and the formation of the Vietnamese faith; Direction of the Vietnamese Youth in the USA), a variety concert on Saturday, and a celebratory Mass followed by an outdoor picnic party on Sunday. An abundance of parishioners and special guests were in attendance to celebrate this joyful event. Grace and Unity were the chosen themes for this event.

The celebratory mass on Sunday was celebrated by the Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, Canada, Most Reverend Vincent Nguyen Manh Hieu.

“With bountiful grace bestowed to our parish during the last 35 years, with deep gratitude to our Heavenly Father, to those who have helped to establish this parish, have been and continued to be the living cornerstones of this community,” Father Peter Hoang Van Thien, OP, said in a written statement to the parishioners, “Upon all, let us remember to live with the words of Pope St. John XXIII: “in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.

A parish history DVD was also developed by committee members.

Holy Martyrs of Vietnam was founded in January 1976. The church was dedicated on August 19, 1979 by Bishop Thomas J. Welsh under the name of “Blessed Vietnamese Martyrs” in Annandale, VA. In July 1985, the church was moved to the current location in Arlington, VA and underwent some renovations. The first Mass was celebrated on March 15, 1989.

The English parish name was changed to The Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Catholic Church by Bishop Keating of Arlington, following a petition of Father Tran Binh Trong on the occasion of the canonization of the 117 Vietnamese Martyrs on January 24, 1989.