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100 Points of Light - 1991


In 1982, the Columban General Council made the monumental decision to officially allow and encourage vocations from mission countries.

By the early 1990s, the Columbans were blessed with seminary students from several of their mission countries, and many different ethnic backgrounds.

On November 23, 1991, one of these seminarians, Peter Nguyen Van Hung became a Columban Father with his ordination at Saint Therese's Church in Lakemba, New South Wales, Australia.

Father Hung is a native of Vietnam, and the first Columban Father of Vietnamese heritage. Father Hung’s family fled their native Vietnam in 1979, a few years after the communist takeover. They found asylum in Fujisawa, Japan, where the future Father Hung first encountered the Columbans, who were ministering to Vietnamese refugees.

In 1982 the family moved to Australia, and Van Hung became an Australian citizen around 1988. But he never forgot his connection to the Columbans, and made the decision to become a priest.

Although the Columbans have never established a formal mission in Vietnam, they historically have had many connections to that nation. These include several Columbans who served as chaplains in Vietnam during the war there,

Father Terence O’Driscoll who served as a Papal Nuncio to North Vietnam, Father Patrick O’Connor reporting on the Vietnam War as a correspondent, and many others.

The ordination of Father Van Hung solidified the Columban link to Vietnam. In 1995, another Vietnam-born Australian, Xuan Tien Nguyen was ordained a Columban Father.