Chronology

1928

The Birth

 

* April 17thBorn in Phú Cam, near Huê, Vietnam, to Thaddeus Nguyên Van Am and Elisabeth Ngo Dinh ti Hiep. He is the second of nine children, four boys and five girls.

* April 19thBaptized by the French missionary, Father Stoeffer (in Vietnamese è Co The) in the Phú Cam parish.

1928

1935

His First Communion.


 

* December 8th: Receives his First Communion.

1937

Receives the sacrament of Confirmation

* December 21st: Receives the sacrament of Confirmation from Mgr. Lemasle in the cathedral of Phú Cam.

1937

1941

Enters the Minor Seminary

 

* 1941 August: Enters the Minor Seminary of An Ninh at thirteen age.

1942 - 47

Enters the Major Seminary

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1942

Makes his first pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of La Vang

1947

* August: Enters the Major Seminary of Phú Xuân in Huê at age nineteen.

*     In the same year, falls ill with malaria.

1942 - 47

1952 - 53

Ordained as a priest

 

* June 12nd1952: Ordained deacon.

* June 11st, 1953: Ordained as a priest by Bishop Jean-Baptiste Urrutia of the Paris Foreign Missions (MEP) and sent as vice-pastor of the large parish of Tam Toa, Chi Xa Dong Hoi, Thinh Quang Binh.

* December 1953: Becomes seriously ill with tuberculosis.

1954 - 55

Recovers from tuberculosis

 

* April 1954: Transfers to St. Paul’s Hospital in Saigon and then to the Grall hospital of Saigon, a French military hospital.

* May 1954: Unexpectedly fully recovers from tuberculosis without surgical intervention.

*    Designated as the Vicar of the St. Francis parish in Huê, and Chaplain of the Pellerin Institute where he had carried out his first studies, the Central Hospital and the Prison in Huê.

* 1955: Founds Lap Trang Doan La Vang (Young Scouts La Vang) group.

1954 - 55

1956 - 59

Recives a doctorate in Canon Law

 

* October 11st1956: Begins study of Canon Law at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome and resides at the Pontifical College of St. Peter Apostle in Rome.

* 1957: August: Visits the Sanctuary of Lourdes for the first time.

* 1958: Travels to Germany to learn the German language and culture, during the Summer holidays. Serves as chaplain to the Celletinen religious community in Cologne.

*  Visits the Sanctuary of Lourdes for the second time.

* June 6th, 1959: Recives a doctorate in Canon Law with Summa cum laude distinction for the thesis: Étude comparative de l’organisation des aumôneries militaires dans le monde.

*  Visits Ireland, France (Lourdes), Portugal (Fatima), Canada and the United States of America before returning to Vietnam.

*  Nominated to became a Professor upon his return to Vietnam.

1962 - 63

Appointed professor

 

* 1962: Appointed professor at the Minor Seminary of Huê, annex to the Kim Long Seminary in Huê.

* 1963: Appointed Rector of the Minor Seminary and professor at the Major Seminary of Huê. Begins the reconstruction of the Minor Seminary in Hoan – Thien, and becomes the first rector of the new minor seminary.

1962 - 63

1964 - 66

Appointed Vicar General of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Huê

 

* May 27th, 1964: Appointed Vicar General of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Huê.

* August 12nd, 1966: Makes a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang with university students, where he receives the inspiration to found the Community of "La Vang".

1967

Appointed Bishop

 

* April 13rd, 1967: Appointed bishop of the diocese of Nha Trang, first native bishop of the diocese.

* June 24th, 1967: Consecrated bishop in the Thien Seminary of Huê. Begins intense apostolic work.

* July 10th, 1967: Assumes responsibility of the diocese of Nha Trang.

* December 1967: Ordains the first priest, Peter Nguyên Van Nho, who becomes Coadjutor Bishop of the diocese of Nha Trang.

*  Reforms several Religious Institutes: Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Bin Cang; Institute of St. Joseph; Congregation of the Lovers of the Cross at Tan Binh.

*  Becomes President of the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications.

1967

1968 - 69

Writes 2 Pastoral Letters

 

* June 2nd, 1968: On Pentecost promulgates the Guidelines for the Parish Committee, which begins its activities on August 15th of the same year.

* October 11st, 1968: Received in audience by the Holy Father Paul VI.

*    Writes the First Pastoral Letter entitled Watch and Pray.

*    Founds the Cultural Center for Cham ethnic minorities and entrusts its administration to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

*    Invites the Emmanuel Movement, the Community of St. Egidio and the Charismatic Movement to the diocese of Nha Trang.

* April 11st, 1969: Becomes a founding member of Radio Veritas Asia and participates in the inauguration in Manila, Philippines.

*    Writes the Second Pastoral Letter entitled Be strong in the faith, progress in the peace.

*    Creates the “Justice and Peace” Movement in the diocese of Nha Trang

*    Participates in the 13th Cursillos at the Manila Clergy House. Founds the Cursillos Movement in the diocese of Nha Trang. Launches the Focolare Movement.

1970 - 74

Years of Intense Activity

 

* January 1st, 1970: Organizes the First World Day of Peace in the diocese of Nha Trang, with Eucharistic celebrations, various ceremonies, and special broadcasts of the Nha Trang radio. On that occasion he gives the Message of Peace to the authorities, blesses a Commemorative Plaque in the Cathedral Square, also called “Peace Square”.

* November 24th, 1970: Participates in the First General Assembly of Asian Bishops in Manila, Philippines.

Writes the Third Pastoral Letter entitled Justice and Peace

He writes the Fourth Pastoral Letter entitled The Mission of Christ is our Mission.

Organizes the first training course for the leaders of the Cursillo Movement in Long Xuyen.

* April 17th, 1971: Founds the Secular Institute of Hope (Tu hoy Hy vong "SPES"), as a member of the Institute of the Sacred Heart founded by Father Pierre de Clorivière. Composes the fundamental principles of the Statutes of the Institute of Hope based on those of the Secular Institute of the Sacred Heart.

Appointed Consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity for the second time.

* Writes the Fifth Pastoral Letter entitled Commemoration of the Three Hundred Years of Catholic History in Vietnam.

* February 14th, 1972Appointed president of the Episcopal Commission for the development of Vietnam.

* 1973: Appointed Vice-President of COREV (Cooperation for the reconstruction of Vietnam).

October 12nd, 1973: Travels to Europe with Mgr. Henri Lemaître as delegate of COREV and Caritas of the Vietnamese Bishops' Conference.

Writes this Pastoral Letter entitled Holy Year: Renewal and Reconciliation.

* Invites the Focolare Movement from the Philippines to encourage the spirit of the Movement in the diocese.

* 1974: Publishes : “Spes - Hy vong”, the Statutes of the Institute of the Sacred Heart in Vietnamese and adapts them to the context of Vietnam, Editrice Hanh Phuc, Saigon 1974.

* September 25-26th: Participates in the joint meeting of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” - Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace - Pontifical Council for the Laity, on the theme: “The local Church: her needs and resources”, Palazzo San Calisto, Rome.

* October 13rd: Received in audience by the Holy Father Paul VI.

1970 - 74

1975 - Aprile

Appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Saigon

* April 23rd: Appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Saigon by Holy Fater Paul VI.

* May 7th: Transfers from the Nha Trang Diocese to the Saigon Archdiocese.

 

1975 - Agosto

The arrest

 

* August14th: Receives a group of patriotic priests and religious at the Major Seminary of Saigon. They oppose his appointment and threaten to arrest him if he doesn’t return to Nha Trang

* August 15th: Is summoned to the Palace of the Presidency, arrested and taken under military escort to Nha Trang, to the village of Cay Vong (10 km from Nha Trang): Remains under house arrest until 10th May 1976.

Writes, the book entitled: The Road of Hope, on the pages of an old calendar.

1975 - Agosto

1976

The Prison

 

* March 19th: Is transferred to the prison camp of Phù Khánh, Nha Trang on the feast of St Joseph.

* November 29th: Transferred to the Thu Duc camp, North of Ho Chi Minh City.

* December 1st: Is chained to another prisoner a non-Catholic government official noted to be a Buddhist fundamentalist. Travel by ship with 1,500 other prisoners to the port of Haiphong and is taken to the Ving Quang rehabilitation centre at the foot of Mount Tam Dao, in the village of Dao Trù, Lap Thach, Vinh Phú province of North Vietnam.

The imprisonment

 

* February 5th, 1977: Transferred to Thanh-Liet prison, Hanoi neighbourhood.

* May 13rd, 1978: Is transferred to Giang-Xá (Hoai-Dűc district) and put under house arrest on the Feast of the apparition of the Virgin of Fatima,

1982 - 85

Writes the book entitled “Message of Father Maximilian Kolbe”

 

* October 17th, 1982: While is in Giang Xâ prison, writes the book entitled “Message of Father Maximilian Kolbe”.

* November 5th, 1982: Is transferred to an apartment reserved for Hanoi's security agents located at 23 Hoa Ma Street, Hanoi.

* November 5th, 1985: Is transferred twice, first to Hanoi prison and then to another prison in Hanoi, under solitary confinement.

1988

The Liberation

 

* April 24th: During imprisonment in Hanoi, writes the Lexicon Tu' V'ung Dűc - Anh - Phá- Viêt (Lexicon in German, English, French, Vietnamese) and a book of Spanish grammar.

* November 21st: Is informed of his liberation on the day of the Presentation of the Virgin to the Temple.

* November 24th: Released from prison after 13 years, nine of which were in total isolation. Cardinal H. Em. Joseph M. Van Can, Archbishop of Hanoi, offered him hospitality.

1988

1989

Visit his parents - Hospitalization

 

* March28th: Travels to Sydney, Australia, to visit his parents and relatives for three weeks. During this time he visits the Australian bishops and priests who had helped his family and worked to promote his liberation.

* April: Arrives in Rome from Sydney, Australia.

* April: Calls the Mother House of Cellitinenn Sisters to inform them of his release.

* April 17th: Interviewed by Vatican Radio on the theme: Prospects for the Church in Vietnam in the current political phase of the Renewal, while is in Rome.

* July 4th: Is received in private Audience from Holy Father, John Paul II, before returning to Vietnam.

* December: Diagnosed with a prostate tumour and admitted to the Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi for surgery.

1990

Second surgery - Received in a private audience with Paul John II

 

* October: Travels to Rome for a second prostate surgery.

* November 17th: Received in a private audience with Paul John II.

Founds the “Friends of the Lepers - Lazarus" Association in Vietnam

1990

1991 - Marzo - Novembre

Returns to Hanoi - Expelled from Vietnam as "persona non grata".

 

* March: Returns to Hanoi upon recovery from surgery.

* April to November: Dedicated the majority of his time to helping the lepers of Vietnam.

* November: Expelled from Vietnam as a persona non grata.

1991 - Dicembre

Returns to Rome in exile.

 

* December: Returns to Rome in exile.

1991 - Dicembre

1992 - 93

Celebrates the funeral mass of his father

 

* Appointed a member of the  International Catholic Commission for Migration, in Geneva.

* January 1992: Accepts the position of spiritual counsellor of the “Les Amis de Van” Association.

* April 23rd, 1992: Receives the Holy Father’s Apostolic Blessing on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his episcopal ordination.

* March 22nd, 1993: Appointed Consultor of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

* July 1st, 1993: Travels to Sydney to celebrate the funeral mass of his father.

1994

Appointed vice-president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

 

* 15 November: Preaches the Spiritual Exercises to bishops, priests, and lay people in Mexico.

* November 24th: Appointed vice-president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

* November: Resigns as coadjutor archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City.

1994

1995 - 97

Appointed Postulator of the Cause of Beatification of Marcel Van

 

* March 15th1995: Appointed Postulator of the Cause of Beatification of Marcel Van.

* Participates in the Annual Marian Congress of the Vietnamese Communities present in North America, in Carthage -Missouri, U.S.A. with the lecture The Spirituality of Hope for Young People - The Vocation of Married Life.

May 11st, 1996: Receives an “Honoris Causa” degree in Letters from Notre Dame Seminary - School of Theology, New Orleans (Louisiana, U.S.A.).

* June 21st: Presents a reflection on the situation of the Church in the world and in Vietnam to priest and laity in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.A

* August: Participates in the Annual Marian Congress of the Vietnamese Communities present in North America, in Carthage -Missouri, U.S.A with the theme The parents’ role.

* May 1997: Preaches the Spiritual Exercises to bishops, priests and lay people in Mexico.

1998

Appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

 

* June 24thAppointed President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

* August 22nd: Founds the Our Lady of La Vang Community and presents its Statutes to Cardinal James Hickey of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

* August 24thCardinal Bernard Law of the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. approves the Statutes of the Community of Our Lady of Lavang.

* October 11-18th: Preaches the Spiritual Exercises to bishops, priests and lay people in Monterrey, Mexico.

1998

1999

One year of Intense Activity

 

* January 12nd: Writes an article for the Lateran University entitled, “Fatherhood of God and City of Man: Power and Service”.

* February 11st: Participates in the Consultation on Human Promotion and Human Rights in the Third Millennium in Pattaya City, Thailand and presents “The role of the Universal Church in promoting the Pastoral Care of Human Rights”.

* March 19th: Sends a letter to the Community of Our Lady of La Vang where he presents the Message of Our Lady and the rules to be observed by the members of the Community in Reichstett, France.

* June 1st: Sent to the Balkans, formerly Yugoslavia as representative by the Holy Father John II.

* June 3rd: On the Feast of Corpus Christi, delivers the Holy Father’s message, celebrates Holy Mass and prays for peace in the Balkan region.

* June 9th: Appointed Commander of the National Order of Merit of the French Embassy to the Holy See, in Rome.

In his role as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, promotes the publication of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

* June 26-30th: Preaches the Spiritual Exercises and participates in a seminar on the Social Teaching of the Church in Accra, Ghana.

* August 5th: Participates in the 30th International Meeting of the Clergy and presents “The Will of the Father” in Maternushaus Cologne, Germany.

* August 20thTravels to Harare, Zimbabwe to promote the teaching of the Social Doctrine of the Church in the local churches.

* October 9thWrites the lecture “Human Dignity and Religious Freedom” LUMSA (Libera Università Maria Ss. Assunta), Rome.

* October 25-29th: Participates in the First Mexican Social Week, and presents the lecture “The Church in the construction of a global culture of solidarity”.

* November 14-16th: Participates in the International Conference of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland.

* Nov 30- Dec 5th: Participates in the preparation of an Oceania Regional Seminar on the Teaching of the Social Doctrine of the Church that would be held in May 2000 in Australia. On his return, stops in Malaysia to participate in the meeting of the “Justice and Peace” Commissions.

* December 5th: Invited by Pope John Paul II to preach the Spiritual Exercises of Lent 2000 to the Roman Curia.

2000

Leads the Lenden Spiritual Exercise

 

* March 12-18th: At the request of John Paul II, the Lenten Spiritual Exercises to the Roman Curia. He is the first Asian bishop in history to receive this honour.

* April 3rdVisits the parish community of St Saturninus and reflect on the Eucharist.

* May 5thPresents a lecture to the Mexican Bishops on the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress in Mexico.

Writes the text “Mary Mother of Hope”, text on the spirituality of the Mater Unitatis Community and a reflection text for the Imdosoc retreat, Mexico.

* May 7th: Participates in the Ecumenical Commemoration of the witnesses to the Faith in the 20th century.

* August 15-21st: Presents the Community of Our Lady of Lavang at the Basilica of Mary Immaculate in Washington D.C., U.S.A.

* August 22 –September 1st: Participates in the Intercontinental Meeting Africa-America, in Maputo, Mozambique.

* September 15th: Participates in the Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany.

* October 8th: Participates in the Plenary Assembly of SCEAM, Rocca di Papa, Rome.

* October 9-13rd: Preaches the Spiritual Exercises to the priests of the Emmanuel Community in Paray-le-Monial, France.

* November 20-27thPreaches a retreat in Taipei, Taiwan.

* December 12nd: Receives the “Peace Building Award 2000” from the Together for Peace Foundation in Rome, Italy.

2000

2001

Appointed Cardinal

 

January 21st: Appointed Cardinal.

January 30th: Speaks at the National Labour Conference in Rome with the address, “The Future of Work”.

* February 21st: Created Cardinal. Receives the title of Deacon of the Church of Santa Maria della Scala, Rome

* April: Travels to Boston to undergo surgery at Saint-Elizabeth Seaton Clinic. U.S.A.

* July 17thReceives the Vatican citizenship.

* Sep 30 –Oct 27th: Participates in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, and presentes a speech entitled, “The Bishop, servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and hope of the world”, Vatican City.

* October 5-7th: Participates in the Eucharistic Congress 2000, in Washington D.C., U.S.A.

* November 1-5th: Visits Chiapas (San Cristóbal de las Casas), Mexico.

Preaches a retreat for the youth of Monterrey, Mexico.

* November 5-9th: Preaches the Fourth International Retreat for Bishops and Priests, Monterrey, Mexico.

* November 10-15th: Preaches a cycle of Spiritual Exercises in Boston, U.S.A.

* December 9th: Awarded the Peace Prize 2001 by the G. Donati Study Centre, Pistoia, Italy.

* December 11st: Presents the Holy Father’s Message for the 2002 World Day of Peace: “There is no peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness”.

* December13rd: Participates in the Meeting on the future of Christians in the Holy Land, Vatican City.

2002 Gennaio - Aprile

Travels to Sydney for the celebration of his mother's 100th birthday

 

* January 11st: Participates in the congress, “The Greatness of Christian Life”, dedicated to the apostolic mission of the Christian, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome.

* January 26th: Participates in the Second March of the Youth “Torches for Peace” from Recanati to Loreto, organized by the Episcopal Commissions of the Marche region for Social and Youth Ministry.

* February 3-8th: Preaches the Seventh National Retreat to the Priests of the Legionaries of Christ, Rome Italy, published after with the title: Scoprite la gioia della speranza, Rome.

* February 11-15th: Presents the  lecture “Ciudad Nueva” at the Verbum Dei Charismatic Renewal retreat in Madrid, Spain.

* February 28th: Presents his testimony at the meeting entitled “Peace, future of the World”, St. Apollonius Parish, Lamezzane, Brescia, Italy.

* March 1st: Presents a Meditation on the theme, “Jesus and Satan”, in the Parish of St. Apollonius at Lamezzane, Brescia, Italy.

* March: Travels to Sydney for the celebration of his mother's 100th birthday.

* March 22nd: Meets the students of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, in Vatican.

2002 Gennaio - Aprile

2002 Maggio - Dicembre

Dies in the Pius XI Clinic at 6 p.m. Rome, Italy

 

* May 3rd: Participates in the Justice and Peace conference, “Civitas”, Padua.

* May 8th: Operated on at the National Institute of Tumours, Milan.

* June 5th: Admitted to the Agostino Gemelli Hospital, Rome.

* July 14th: Transfers to the Pius XI Clinic, Rome.

* July 22nd: Receives the Anointing of the Sick and writes his last desires before undergoing another surgical operation.

* September 16th: Dies in the Pius XI Clinic at 6 p.m. Rome, Italy.

2007

His Eminence Cardinal Renato R. Martino asks for the authorisation to initiate of the process of Beatification and Canonization of Card. François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân

 

* March 2nd: His Eminence Cardinal Renato R. Martino, in his position as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace asks the Vicar of the diocese of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, for the authorisation to initiate of the process of Beatification and Canonization of Card. François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân.

* April 17th: The Assembly of Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Latium accepts the Introduction of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân.

* September17th: The preliminary phase of the Cause of Beatification is opened in presence of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, at Castelgandolfo, Rome, Italy.

2007

2009 - 2010

His Eminence Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson presides the Public Opening of the Diocesan Process of Beatification and Canonization

 

2009

* January 16th 2009: EDICT of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân is published.

2010

* October 22nd 2010: In presence of His Eminence Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Session of the Public Opening of the Diocesan Process of Beatification and Canonization at the Tribunal of the Vicariate of Rome begins.

2012

The body of the Servant of God Cardinal Van Thuân is transferred from Monumental Cemetery of Verano, is reburied in the Church of Santa Maria della Scala, Rome

 

* June 8th: The body of the Servant of God Cardinal Van Thuân, which was in the Monumental Cemetery of Verano, is reburied in the Church of Santa Maria della Scala, Rome during a privileged burial.

2012

2013

Closing session of the diocesan process

 

* July 5th: Closing session of the diocesan process in the Vicariate of Rome, which included:

* The Solemn Eucharistic Celebration in the Basilica of St. Anthony.

* Presentation of the volume of the Pastoral Letters that Mgr. Van Thuân wrote to the faithful of the diocese of Nha Trang and concluded with a musical concert.

* July 6th: The Holy Father Francis receives in audience the group of participants at the ceremony and activities organised for the occasion.

2017

Pope Francis signs the Decree of Recognition of the Heroic Virtues of Cardinal Van Thuân

 

* May 4th: Pope Francis signs the Decree of Recognition of the Heroic Virtues of Cardinal Van Thuân and he is declared Venerable.

* September 17thSolemn Eucharistic Celebration in memory of the 15th anniversary of Cardinal Van Thuân is death and thanksgiving of his life.

The Postulator gives a public reading of the Decree of Venerability in the Church of Santa Maria della Scala.

2017

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