Pope Francis chose the 64-year-old former parish priest and head of a deanery in Madagui to succeed Mgr Joseph Nguyễn Chi Linh, who was appointed archbishop of Huế two years ago. The new prelate was ordained priest on 27 June 1992 for the diocese of Ðà Lat. The ordination Mass will take place on 28 June at Thanh Hóa Cathedral.
Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis has appointed Mgr Giuse (Joseph) Nguyễn Đức Cường (pictured) as the new bishop of Thanh Hóa, a diocese in northern Vietnam, that celebrated its 85th anniversary last year.
The see was vacant since 29 October 2016, when the pontiff appointed Mgr Giuse (Joseph) Nguyễn Chi Linh as archbishop of Huế.
The new bishop, 64, belongs to the clergy of Ðà Lat and until his election two days ago was a parish priest, as well as head of the deanery in Madagui.
Second of ten children (five boys and five girls), Mgr Giuse Nguyễn Đức Cường was born on 14 October 1953 in Quảng Trường (Quảng Xương district), a village in the Diocese of Thanh Hóa.
He attended the Simon Hoa minor seminary, and then continued his studies at the major seminary in Ðà Lat. Afterwards he enrolled at the St Pius X Pontifical College, which was seized by Vietnam’s Communist government in 1980.
The prelate completed his priestly training at the St Joseph Major Seminary in Sàigòn, before his ordination on 27 June 1992, for the diocese of Ðà Lat.
Over the next nine years, he served in the diocese as parochial vicar at the Tân Thạnh church, Bảo Lộc (Lâm Đồng province). Between 2001 and 2005 he did the same at the Tấn Bùi church, also in Bảo Lộc, where he became parish priest in 2005, before his appointment as parish priest and dean in Madagui in 2015.
Mgr Giuse Nguyễn Đức Cường was also judicial vicar for the Marriage Court (2010-2017) and deputy rector at the Minh Hòa seminary.
Outside the diocese of Đà Lạt, he served as deputy director of the eparchial catechetical commission of the ecclesiastical province of Sàigòn (2005-2014), of which he became president in 2014.
In that same year, he became deputy chair of the Commission for the Catechism of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam.
Mgr Giuse Nguyễn Đức Cường’s ordination is set for 28 June at 7 am, at Thanh Hóa cathedral.
Suffragan of Hà Nội, the diocese of Thanh Hóa covers an area of 11,700 km² with about 147,000 Catholics (3.5 per cent) out of 4.2 million residents. The area is divided into 56 parishes with 92 priests, nine deacons, 92 seminarians, two men religious and 299 nuns.
The Church also runs an educational facility and three charitable institutions. Last year, the local Catholic community celebrated over 3, 000 baptisms.