Orange County Register

The Most Rev. Dominic Luong, the first native-born Vietnamese U.S. Catholic bishop, was hailed by priests and parishioners as a kind and unassuming man who was generous to a fault, during his funeral service Thursday morning, Dec. 14 at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange.

  • Orange County Bishop Kevin Vann presided at funeral services for Bishop Dominic Luong at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Orange County Bishop Kevin Vann presided at funeral services for Bishop Dominic Luong at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Several dozen clergy attended the funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Several dozen clergy attended the funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A woman reaches out to touch the coffin of Bishop Dominic Luong at the end of funeral services at Holy Family Cathedral in Orane on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A woman reaches out to touch the coffin of Bishop Dominic Luong at the end of funeral services at Holy Family Cathedral in Orane on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Light from a stained glass window limned a nun who was holding a program from the funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong at Holy Family Cathedral on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Light from a stained glass window limned a nun who was holding a program from the funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong at Holy Family Cathedral on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A Knights of Columbus member stands at attention as Bishop Kevin Vann enters Holy Family Cathedral in Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. Vann presided over a funeral Mass for Bishop Dominic Luong. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A Knights of Columbus member stands at attention as Bishop Kevin Vann enters Holy Family Cathedral in Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. Vann presided over a funeral Mass for Bishop Dominic Luong. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange County Bishop Kevin Vann holds the gospel aloft during funeral services for Bishop Dominic Luong at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Orange County Bishop Kevin Vann holds the gospel aloft during funeral services for Bishop Dominic Luong at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Most Rev. Dominic Luong served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange. A photograph of Luong was on display at the altar during his funeral service in Orange, on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Most Rev. Dominic Luong served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange. A photograph of Luong was on display at the altar during his funeral service in Orange, on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A woman prays at the casket of the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange Orange, CA on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A woman prays at the casket of the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange Orange, CA on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Light from a stain glass window falls upon the habits of three nuns who were attending a funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Light from a stain glass window falls upon the habits of three nuns who were attending a funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • St Paul’s letter to the Philippians was read during the funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    St Paul’s letter to the Philippians was read during the funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A woman gestures before the start of funeral services for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A woman gestures before the start of funeral services for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange County Bishop Kevin Vann consecrates the host at funeral services for Bishop Dominic Luong at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Orange County Bishop Kevin Vann consecrates the host at funeral services for Bishop Dominic Luong at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Family members wear headbands to show mourning at a funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange Orange, CA on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Family members wear headbands to show mourning at a funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange Orange, CA on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Clergy prepare for communion at the funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Clergy prepare for communion at the funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Several dozen clergy attended the funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Several dozen clergy attended the funeral service for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Sister Catherine Nguyen read from scripture during funeral services for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Sister Catherine Nguyen read from scripture during funeral services for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Pall bearers slide the casket into the hearse at the conclusion of funeral services for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Pall bearers slide the casket into the hearse at the conclusion of funeral services for the Most Rev. Dominic Luong who served as a Vietnamese bishop of in the Diocese of Orange on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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About 1,800 people packed the cathedral for a standing-room only service, the attendees overwhelmingly Vietnamese. Several wore white scarves around their heads, a gesture that signifies mourning in Vietnamese culture.

Luong died Dec. 6, at age 77, following a lengthy illness. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Orange by Pope John Paul II on April 25, 2003, and retired in 2015.

The Rev. Kerry Beaulieu, pastor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Newport Beach, talked about Luong’s significant work with Vietnamese refugee communities in New Orleans and Orange County.

Luong, Beaulieu said, lived true to his motto, which he borrowed from the Book of Ephesians: “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

“He was a bridge builder, between the church in Vietnam and the U.S., between Vietnamese and American cultures,” Beaulieu said. “These were two peoples who knew very little about each other, but were destined to become neighbors and friends, and brothers and sisters in the church.”

Luong was personally affected by the fall of Saigon in April 1975. Having come to the U.S. at age 16, he was on a plane headed back home to visit family in 1975, Beaulieu said.

However, his flight was diverted to a neighboring island because of evacuations in Saigon after the communist takeover of South Vietnam. While on the island, even as he was worried about his own family, Luong celebrated Mass with newly arrived refugees.

“As he was doing so, the clouds parted and the sun shone on a section of the crowd,” Beaulieu said. “And in the crowd, he recognized his mother’s face.”

Luong rushed into the crowd to embrace his mother.

“It was an unexpected reunion, but certainly one of the most joyful moments in his life,” Beaulieu said.

Monsignor Tuan Pham, pastor at Saint Columban Church in Garden Grove, said people were drawn to Luong because of his simple and unassuming nature.

“He dressed very casually, often in khaki pants and an old sweater,” he said, speaking in English and Vietnamese. “He never referred to himself as a bishop or identified himself as one.”

Luong also had a special place in his heart for the homeless and served them food at the Vietnamese Catholic Center in Santa Ana every day, Pham said.

Thai Vu, a parishioner from Pomona, said he viewed Luong “as a father and as a teacher.”

“People are here from all over the country and from Vietnam to pay their respects to him,” he said.

Father Khai Hoan Mai, who knew Luong for nearly four decades, said he came all the way from Da Nang where Luong’s home diocese of Bui Chu is located.

“He is very special not just to Vietnamese Catholics, but to all Vietnamese people, here and in Vietnam,” he said, adding that three bishops and 10 priests from Vietnam were attending Thursday’s service.

On Tuesday, Dec. 19 the Rev. Thanh Thai Nguyen will be named auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Orange during an ordination ceremony at St. Columban Church. This passing of the torch wasn’t planned, but is providential, said the Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange.

“It’s part of God’s plan for our diocese,” Vann told the crowd.

Luong was buried at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange after the service.

Source : http://www.ocregister.com/2017/12/14/most-rev-dominic-luong-first-vietnamese-born-u-s-bishop-celebrated-as-champion-of-refugees-at-standing-room-only-funeral/

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