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By Fr. Joseph Phuoc, SDB

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, April 01, 2024 - As the Church prepared for the most solemn liturgy of the year, the Vigil of Easter Celebration, God called one of the sons of Don Bosco to share in Jesus' Death and Resurrection: Fr. Joseph Nguyen Van Quang, the fifth Provincial of Salesians of Don Bosco (2015-2022) left home on earth to go back to God the Father's Home.

Fr. Joseph Quang was born in 1948 and grew up in a devout and traditionally Catholic family. Early in his boyhood (1959), his parents sent him to the Salesian junior aspirantate to get a good human and Christian formation, hoping that under the Salesian system of education, he could find his vocation as God wanted.

He belonged to the first Salesian generation in Vietnam who got the formation directly from the missionaries and was sent to Hong Kong for his post-novitiate (1968-1971). As he started his first year in specific formation with theological studies in the Pontifical College of Pius X (1974-1975), the society went through a total change with the new regime which unified the whole country. His whole family migrated to the Western country, yet, he chose to stay with the people of God in accord with the Pastoral Option of the Bishop Conference of Vietnam (1980): "Living the Gospel among the people, bringing happiness to all." Working in the farm for food earning, at the same time, working on his own theological formation with the help of private professors, he was precociously ordained to the priesthood in 1976 (at the age of 28) to respond to the urgent needs of the faithful.

As he was rendering his ministries in different parishes, his mind and heart focused on the needs of the young, especially the educational ones within a country that struggled to recover from a hundred years of war. Together with other Salesians, he succeeded in starting the first technical education center (TVET) in the Province (2002) which is now serving thousands of students as a technical high school. A number of Salesian vocations were born in this Salesian Parish and this school under his guidance.

In 2015, he was appointed by the Rector Major, Don Angel Artime, to lead the province of Vietnam (2015-2022), animating a province that is rich in vocations and services to serve the poor youth. In fact, under his leadership, a number of new presences were set up or strengthened, in particular, the setting up of the Delegation of North Vietnam. Confreres were sent to other provinces for collaboration programs. Being experienced in pastoral and educational ministries, he attended to the qualification of the young confreres in various areas, theology, philosophy, education, Salesianity, etc., as the key for the efficient youth ministry in the Salesian charism.

His services to the Province with 350 confreres, present in 38 communities/presences in 2 countries (Vietnam and Mongolia), taxed a lot of his health and energy. As he was retiring in an apostolic community (2022), his health declined fast, and he went through three surgical operations.

Those who lived and worked closely with him or under his leadership will remember for good his role as a competent leader who knew how to delegate the responsibilities to the confreres with full trust and constant support to achieve the objectives as planned together in the community.

May God reward Fr Joseph Quang with the third part of the promise Don Bosco made to his disciples: Bread, Work, and Paradise.



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