The following comes from a January 26 Orange County Catholic article by Cathi Douglas:
Bishop Dominic Dinh Mai Luong – the first and only Vietnamese-American Bishop in the U.S. and an outspoken advocate for Catholics in Vietnam – retired December 20 on his 75th birthday, after serving the Diocese of Orange for 12 years.
“Our diocese has the largest Catholic Vietnamese population outside Vietnam, with about 70,000,” Bishop Luong notes, adding that he was uniquely suited to pastoral service here. “Many of our parishes – Holy Spirit, Saint Barbara’s, St. Columban’s and Our Lady of La Vang – are predominantly Vietnamese-American.”
Bishop Luong is known for his self-effacement, work ethic and compassion, as well as his intimate knowledge of the needs and concerns of Vietnamese-American Catholics.
Dominic M. Luong was born in Minh Cuong, Vietnam in 1940, the second youngest of 11 children. His seminary and formation were at Holy Family Diocesan Seminary high school in Vietnam and in 1958 he came to the United States at 18 years old to continue his studies at St. Bernard Seminary in Rochester, New York. He pursued postgraduate studies at Canisius College, earning two master’s degrees in biology and psychology.
Ordained a priest on May 21, 1966, for the Diocese of Danang, Vietnam, then-Father Luong was prevented from returning to his homeland because the Vietnam War was raging. As circumstances would have it, he was never able to return in pastoral service to his native land. Still, he had many careers, including teaching biology at the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary, working as a hospital chaplain and serving as associate pastor at Saint Louis Parish in Buffalo.
When South Vietnam fell, Father Luong was the individual best suited to help resettle the many refugees who streamed into the U.S. A large portion of them came to New Orleans, so he served there as director of the Archdiocesan Vietnamese Apostolate from 1976 to 1983. He became an American citizen in 1977 and was named founding pastor of Mary Queen of Vietnam Church in New Orleans in 1983.
“Vietnamese Catholics are different,” Bishop Luong explains. “They have a deep devotion that enriches the Church, and a unique dedication to the Blessed Virgin that has helped revitalize their congregations. There is a great devotion to family and to religious vocations.”