Auxiliary bishop is one of two Vietnamese-American bishops in U.S.

Atlanta's newest auxiliary, Bishop John Nhan Tran, greets the faithful after his episcopal ordination Mass at St. Peter Chanel Church in Roswell, Ga., Jan. 23, 2023. Processing behind him are Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, and retired Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans. (CNS photo/Johnathon Kelso, The Georgia Bulletin)

ROSWELL, Ga. – “God will provide,” is the episcopal motto of Atlanta’s newest auxiliary, Bishop John Nhan Tran, ordained Jan. 23 in a joyous afternoon Mass at St. Peter Chanel Church in Roswell, Georgia.

Bishop Tran most recently served as pastor at Mary Our Queen Church in Mandeville, Louisiana, in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Many members of his congregation made the trip to witness the ordination.

Pope Francis appointed then-Father Tran to serve Atlanta in October. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, read the apostolic letter as part of the Rite of Ordination.

“Bishop-elect Tran has distinguished himself in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, especially as a pastor,” read the nuncio, as reported by The Georgia Bulletin, publication of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

His “personal story is quite moving,” noted Archbishop Pierre.

Bishop Tran was born in 1966 in Vietnam. He and his family left their country amid the ravages of war and received refugee status in the United States. The bishop’s mother died when he was 2 years old, his father was shot and imprisoned by communists, and a brother died after stepping on a land mine.

“Throughout his life and ministry he has shown remarkable patience and perseverance, and maintained his faith in God. His life experience has prepared him for this point, and the Divine Master has been shaping and forming him even through suffering into a masterpiece,” said Archbishop Pierre.

Bishop Tran is now one of two Vietnamese-American bishops serving the U.S. Catholic Church. Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen is an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Orange, California. The nuncio noted that Bishop Tran’s ordination is “also a sign of the great diversity in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the rich contribution of the Vietnamese faithful here.”

The Office of Planning and Research for the Archdiocese of Atlanta estimates that 50,000 Vietnamese-Americans live in the metro area.

In his homily, Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., expressed gratitude for the gift of a new auxiliary bishop and reflected on the spirit of rejoicing in Atlanta, New Orleans and the land of Vietnam. The ordination, noted the archbishop, was taking place during the celebration of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year.

Just as God gave the prophet Jeremiah the strength to speak the truth, he will aid Bishop Tran, said the archbishop.

“God has called you to shepherd his people. The consolation is that when God calls us he also equips us. He gives us everything we need to succeed in our mission of serving him. To whomever I send you, you shall go – even to Atlanta,” he said as the congregation laughed.

“The deepest identity of a bishop is to be a companion of Jesus Christ,” said Archbishop Hartmayer.

Prayer is essential in shaping the daily life of a bishop, he instructed. “Without prayer, we lose our focus and our true sense of purpose. My dear brother John, you are a man of prayer. Therein, lies your strength,” said the archbishop.

Following the homily, Bishop Tran promised to faithfully carry out the Office of Bishop, was anointed with sacred chrism, and was invested with the signs of the office – the ring, miter and crosier.

Co-consecrators of the ordination were New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond and Archbishop-emeritus Alfred Hughes. They joined Bishop Tran for the Te Deum (“We praise you, Oh God”). The archdiocesan choir beautifully chanted the Te Deum from the choir loft of the Roswell parish as the bishop made his way down the center aisle of the sanctuary, blessing the people.

The new bishop spoke at the conclusion of Mass.

“I am humbled by your presence, and my heart is filled with profound gratitude,” he said.

Bishop Tran gave thanks to the bishops attending, former parishioners, family and organizers of the Mass and for those watching the ticketed Mass by livestream.

“May God bless each of you as you have blessed me today,” said Bishop Tran.

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