By John Surratt
VICKSBURG – On March 3, 26 years after arriving in the U.S. in 1993, Father Joseph Nguyen, SVD, “Father Joseph” to his parishioners, was installed as the 18th pastor of St. Mary Parish. He succeeds Father Malcolm O’Leary who retired.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz said an installation ceremony is “a very special opportunity, because it brings the parish together. “Also, it keeps that bond with the bishop and the diocese together. That’s what’s really neat about it; everybody remembers that we’re all part of the body of Christ. I know Father Joseph is very excited, because it gives the pastor that sense of ‘now I’m here.’”
As noted by The Vicksburg Post of March 4th, in 1991, Joseph Nguyen was living in a refugee camp with family members in the Philippines waiting to come to the United States. A native of Vietnam, Nguyen said he found his vocation while living in the refugee camp, adding two missionary priests from the Society of the Divine Word inspired him to enter the priesthood by their dedication to serving others. After arriving in the U.S. he entered Divine Word College seminary in 1995 and later attended the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois. He was ordained in 2008. In 2015, he was assigned as associate pastor for St. Joseph Catholic Church in Livingston, Texas. He came to St. Mary’s, his first assignment as a pastor, Sept. 1.
“St. Mary’s is a nice church, nice people. We work together, and they help and support me a lot. We have a lot of unity,’ said Father Joseph. Nguyen is the youngest pastor the church has had.
(Republished with permission from The Vicksburg Post)