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Posted April 19, 2006

Book: Vietnamese-American Catholics
Author: Peter C. Phan
Paulist Press, NY, 2005, pp.141

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

With the first book in this new series from Paulist Press, Fr. Peter C. Phan presents the history of Christianity in Vietnam, the conditions of Vietnamese Catholics in America, the challenges facing Vietnamese-American Catholics today, and suggestions on how to meet them.

“Numbers don’t lie. There are now over one million Vietnamese living in the United States. Over 300,000 are Catholic . . .There are 600 priests, 50 permanent deacons, 700 sisters, and a large number of candidates to the priesthood and religious life . . . Together, Vietnamese-American Catholics with their clergy and religious would be equivalent to one of the largest dioceses in the American Catholic Church.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Vietnamese Images of Jesus

In his apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Asia (November 6, 1999), which he promulgated after the Asian Synod (April 10-May 14, 1998), Pope John Paul II notes that the Synod encouraged Asian theologians in “their delicate work of developing an inculturated theology, especially in the area of Christology.” Earlier he cites the “images of Jesus which would be intelligible to Asian minds and cultures and, at the same time, faithful to Scripture and Tradition” that have been suggested by the Synod: “Jesus Christ as the Teacher of Wisdom, the Healer, the Liberator, the Spiritual Guide, the Enlightened One, the Compassionate Friend of the Poor, the Good Samaritan, the Good Shepherd, the Obedient One.” Of course, some of these images are biblical and familiar, others astounding, especially when translated into the local idioms, such as “The Spiritual Guide” (Jesus the Guru), and “The Enlightened One” (Jesus as the Buddha).

Table of Contents:

1. Who are the Vietnamese? Origins and identity
2. How do the Vietnamese think, live, and worship? Vietnamese culture and religions
3. How do the Vietnamese celebrate? Vietnamese feasts and customs
4. Who are Vietnamese Americans? Living betwixt and between the new country
5. Who are Vietnamese Catholics? A brief history of Vietnamese Christianity
6. Who are Vietnamese-American Catholics? Living the Christian faith in the new world
7. What lies ahead for Vietnamese-American Catholics. Pastoral challenges and opportunities
8. How can I learn more about Vietnamese Catholics? Cultural and religious resources