The first Vietnamese Salesian passed away!
HCM City, Vietnam -- On April 7 in the presence of more than hundred of SDB, Salesian Family members in Salesian cemetery in Cau Bong (HCM City) was buried the first Vietnamese Salesian of Don Bosco, Fr. Isidore Le Huong. He went to the Salesian garden on April 4 - his Feastday and Birthday, after 60 years of Salesian consecrated life and 56 years of Priesthood.
Isidore Le Huong joined the Salesian Society with his first religious profession in 1957 as the first Vietnamese Salesian. He was in fact the first fruit of toil and works of ad gentes missionaries after 7 years of the Salesian foundation in Vietnam. He continued his post novitiate in Hong Kong and his practical training in Victorias, Mandaluyong [the Philippines] as Vietnam and the Philippines were then in the early age of their existence. He did his theology in Italy and returned to Vietnam afterwards.
His first assignment was the principal of the Technical School of Go Vap [1969-1970], then, from 1970—1972, he was the first Rector of the Salesian high school aspirantate of Thu Duc.
After that, he did his ministries for many years in the dioceses of Ban Me Thuot with the last assignment as the pastor of the Duc Le Parish.
Since 2012, he lived in the community of post-novitiate as a senior member. Yet, in spite of his old age, he was still the example for the young confreres in consecrated life with his good sense of humor, his dedication to what remains in his capacity of service. In particular, he daily offered his ministry of the Sacrament of Reconciliation to confreres, lay people, and priests of Dalat City.
At the beginning of 2017, he got a stroke and was brought to the hospital immediately. A second major stroke put him in coma for almost two months. On the day the Church honors his patron saint, St. Isidore, he gave his last breath in the community, surrounded by his beloved Salesians.
All the confreres, alumni and lay people who knew him and received his blessing of the sacrament of Reconciliation thank God for the gift in the person of Fr. Isidore Le Huong. May God be praised forever! In spite of human limitation and defects, God granted Fr. Isidore a holy departure as a son of Don Bosco.
Moreover, as the first Vietnamese professed Salesian, Fr. Isidore’s first step to engage in the Salesian charism and mission meant a lot for the Vietnamese Salesians. They believed that Don Bosco’s charism could be inculturated and embodied in this beloved country of Vietnam. It’s absolutely true as they witness that more than living 400 Vietnamese Salesians who follow this way of life as Fr. Isidore Le Huong had done!
May Fr. Isidore rest in peace and intercede for the Vietnam - Mongolia Province to grow in the Salesian Charism and Mission!
His short biographical data
- Born in Ninh Binh, North Vietnam 1926 (April 4)
- Novitiate in Muntilupa - Philippines: 1956-1957
- First profession in Manila, Philippines: May 31, 1957
- Practical training in Victorias - Philippines: 1957-1958
- Study of theology in Bollengo, Italy: 1958-1961
- Perpetual profession in Bollengo, Italy: May 30, 1960
- Priestly ordination in Bollengo, Italy: March 25, 1961
- Died in Don Rua - Dalat: April 4, 2017