Father Vu fondly remembered

Posted January 29, 2015 at 12:00 am

By Barbara Chevenert

The Catholic Commentator

Friends, family and colleagues remembered Father Than Vu as a gentle voice and a powerful intelligent who served God and his church with dedication, humility and a deep spirituality.

Bishop Robert Muench called Father Vu “a priest who believed in God, in the church Jesus founded and in eternal life. He had extraordinary personal and spiritual talents. Even people who only had a casual acquaintance with him experienced something special about him.

“He accepted God’s love for him and the love of others and loved in return,” Bishop Muench said Wednesday at a prayer service held at the Catholic Life Center, the administrative offices of the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

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    Statement of Bishop Robert W. Muench

    Father Than Vu was a priest who believed in God, in the church and in eternal life. He had extraordinary personal, pastoral, spiritual and administrative talents.

    Fr. Than served in a variety of parishes in our diocese (Parochial Vicar: St. Jean Vianney, Baton Rouge (Summer 1984), Immaculate Conception, Denham Springs (1985-1987), St. Theresa of Avila, Gonzales (1987-1989), Christ the King (1989-1993); Pastor: St. Patrick, Baton Rouge (1993-2000), Christ the King (2000-2011), St. Aloysius, Baton Rouge (2011-2015), all where he was so beloved and respected.

    His administrative assignments included Diocesan

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    Coming Events

    St. Pius X 50th Anniversary Mass

    Bishop Robert W. Muench will celebrate a Mass commemorating the 50th anniversary of St. Pius X Church, at the corner of Hooper and Mickens roads, Baton Rouge, on Sunday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. There will be no 9 a.m. Mass that day. All are invited to attend. For information, call 225-357-5935.

     

     

    Mass Honoring God the Father

    Monsignor Robert Berggreen will celebrate a Mass honoring God the Father on Monday,

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    Coming Events

    40 Days for Life Meeting

    An organizational meeting for 40 Days for Life will be held Tuesday, July 30, 6:30 p.m., in Room 104 of the Bishop Robert E. Tracy Center, 1800 S. Acadian Thwy., Baton Rouge. The 2013 fall campaign will take place Wednesday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Nov. 3. For information, call 225-242-0164 or email 40daysfor lifebr@gmail.com

     

    Culture of Life Medical Conference

    Woman’s New Life Center and Baton Rouge physician Dr. Rob Chasuk are

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    Coming Events

    Youth Mentoring Program

    Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge is seeking volunteers to mentor youth for a few hours a month as part of its Heart 2 Heart ministry. For information and to participate call Kayla Moscona at 225-336-8700, ext. 404 or email kmoscona@ccdiobr.org.

     

    Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites

    The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites welcomes those who are interested in developing their prayer life according to the teachings of the Carmelite saints. Meetings are

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    Coming Events

    CDA Garage Sale

    The Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court Regina Coeli 2063 of St. Jude Church in Baton Rouge will hold a garage sale Friday, June 21, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturday, June 22, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the St. Jude Church Activity Center at the corner of Highland Road and Gardere Lane. For information, call 225-766-7988 or email kathybenoit@gmail.com.

     

    Summer Getaway

    The Baton Rouge Diocesan Council of Catholic Women

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    Coming Events

    St. Paul VBS

    St. Paul the Apostle Church, 3912 Gus Young Ave., Baton Rouge will hold its Vacation Bible School, “Kingdom Rock – Where Kids Stand Strong for God,” Monday, June 24 through Friday, June 28, 6 – 8 p.m., at the St. Paul Parish Center. For information call the church office at 225-383-2537.

     

    Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites

    The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites welcomes those who are interested in developing their prayer life according

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    The five Bishops of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, 1961 to present

     

     

    BISHOP ROBERT E. TRACY

    Born: 1909

    Ordained a priest: 1932

    Archdiocese: New Orleans

    Episcopal Service: Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette

    Years: 1958 to 1961

    Bishop of Baton Rouge: November 8,1961 to March 21, 1974

    Died: April 4, 1980

     

    BISHOP JOSEPH V. SULLIVAN

    Born: 1919

    Ordained a priest: 1946

    Diocese: Kansas City – St. Joseph, Missouri

    Episcopal Service: Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph

    Years: 1967 to 1974

    Bishop of Baton Rouge: September 4, 1974 to September 4, 1982

    Died: September 4, 1982

    BISHOP STANLEY J. OTT

    Born: 1927

    Ordained a priest: 1951

    Archdiocese: New Orleans

    Episcopal Service: Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans

    Years: 1976 to 1983

    Bishop of Baton Rouge: March 25,

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    Foundation for diocesan mission established early

    By Laura Deavers

    Editor

    Fifty years ago Bishop Robert E. Tracy took his seat in the cathedra, the bishop’s chair, at St. Joseph Cathedral Church to become the founding bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. The date was Nov. 8, 1961; this would become the day the new Diocese of Baton Rouge, which had been carved from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, would begin the journey that would bring it great distinction.

    In 1961, Baton Rouge was a small city struggling with growing pains, as children born to men and women returning

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    RENEW renewed the diocese

    RENEW, the Catholic spiritual program of faith sharing based on Scripture was brought to the Diocese of Baton Rouge in the mid-1980s “to put a fire under the people,” said Father John Carville, former vicar general for the diocese.

    Bishop Stanley Ott wanted to build upon the enthusiasm of our first shepherd, Bishop Robert Tracy, for creating a diocese where the main

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    Youth and young adults the future of the Catholic Church

    Recognizing that teens respond enthusiastically when challenged to make the world better, the Diocese of Baton Rouge Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry reaches out to teens to help build the future of the church.

    For decades before the establishment of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) ministry of the Archdiocese of New Orleans was the primary form of youth ministry

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    Catechesis for children, adults a priority since beginning of diocese

    Since the diocese began, the Diocese of Baton Rouge has put great emphasis on educating all of its members – young and old – in what the Catholic Church teaches. The diocese has provided opportunities for adult Catholics to become informed, formed and transformed in light of the Gospel message.

    The Office of Religious Education was one of the first offices Bishop Robert E. Tracy,

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    Marriage and Family Life Office mission: passing Gospel values to next generations

    Since its beginning, the Diocese of Baton Rouge has assisted the church in its mission of strengthening the family, or domestic church, as the first teacher of faith to its children.

    The Diocese of Baton Rouge Office of Marriage and Family Life, which was first called the Catholic Family Life Bureau, has its roots in a movement that began in 1930, when Pope Pius XI called

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    Catholic schools teach more than academic subjects

    From chalkboards to whiteboards, the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge have changed their leadership style and instruction methodology over the past 50 years but remain committed to their mission of evangelizing hearts, educating minds and embracing the future, according to Dr. Melanie B. Verges, superintendent of Catholic schools.

    One of the biggest changes in Catholic schools has been the transferring of

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    Diocesan clergy and laity provide pastoral care to those in prison

    The Diocese of Baton Rouge has the largest prison population per capita in the country with all of the state adult penal institutions located in the 12 civil parishes of the diocese. Providing sacramental and pastoral care to those incarcerated in these institutions is the responsibility of this diocese.

    Prison ministry in this diocese initially served the needs of elderly inmates eligible for parole and addressed

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    Religious sisters helped implement Vatican II liturgical, musical changes

    Sister Joelle Mauer SCSC was on her first assignment in the rural parishes of south Louisiana when churches in the Baton Rouge area were formed into the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

    Though at the time she was only 29, she rapidly became a local pioneer in the musical and liturgical changes mandated by the Second Vatican Council.

    A group of

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    Bishop reflects on his predecessors in the Diocese of Baton Rouge

    In July 1961, Pope (Blessed) John XXIII established the Diocese of Baton Rouge, and so began a church community that encompasses 12 civil parishes and 5,500 square miles. At the time there were 51 church parishes providing sacramental and pastoral care to faithful believers who could trace their roots to Canada, Mexico, every country in Europe, and many other areas of the world. Over the next 50

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    Throughout its history, diocese benefits from fine works of art

    The Diocese of Baton Rouge and the churches that are part of this diocese have been blessed with many fine works of art.

    From the exquisite stained glass windows crafted by European artisans and shipped to America centuries ago to windows designed in a different, more modern style by local artists to adorn churches of the 20th and 21st centuries, great artistic endeavors are located throughout

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    Emphasis on effective use of media part of diocesan history

    The means by which the Diocese of Baton Rouge communicates the Gospel message has changed over the past 50 years, with media having a special niche in evangelizing.

    Bishop Robert E. Tracy, third from left, looks over a copy of The Catholic Commentator with staff member, from left, Jim Falkner, press owners Gary and Joyce Hebert. The bishop took great interest in the

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    Nursing home ministry grows as the population does

    Throughout the history of the Baton Rouge Diocese, lay ministers who visit the hospitalized, the homebound and nursing home residents have ministered to isolated individuals, keeping them company as well as bringing them the body and blood of Christ.

    Volunteers Dee Cavalier and Lizette Coleman of St. George Church in Baton Rouge help Deacon Tommy St. Pierre distribute

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    Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge expands over the years

    By Barbara Chenevert

    One out of every 10 people in the Diocese of Baton Rouge was probably touched in some way by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge (CCDBR) last year.

    They may have been seeking financial help. They may have come from another country to resettle here. They may have wanted to adopt a baby, needed counseling or been released from prison with nowhere to

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    LSU Special Collections exhibit highlights area Catholic history

    In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, the LSU Libraries Special Collections is presenting “Practicing Catholics: Finding Faith in Family Papers,” a display that features letters, documents, photographs and ephemera drawn from the papers of Baton Rouge-area Catholic families from the early 1800s through the 20th century. The exhibit opened Oct. 31 and continues through Dec. 17.

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    Population growth led to establishment of Baton Rouge Diocese, new church parishes

    In the early days of the Catholic Church, its members lived in the same city as their bishop. As civilizations grew and, subsequently, the church expanded, it became necessary to have churches closer to where the people lived. Therefore, church parishes at some distance from the cathedral were established. This process of parish creation has continued in the Church to the present day, even

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    Archives preserves church records, liturgical items, art, memorabilia

    Not long after the Diocese of Baton Rouge was formed, Bishop Robert E. Tracy saw the importance of preserving the church’s history and tapped a professor from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond to undertake that task.

    A special climate-controlled vault was installed at the old St. Joseph Parochial School in Baton Rouge to house church records, and a diocesan archives officially began.

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    Vatican II shaped new Baton Rouge Diocese

    The mid-1960s was a time of excitement and great turmoil in the Roman Catholic Church.

    The Second Vatican Council had just made significant revisions to the Liturgy. In the United States, Mass would now be said in English. Altars everywhere would be turned so the presider faced the assembly. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program would be revived. Lay ministers

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    Significant Firsts in the Diocese of Baton Rouge

    Religious sisters working full-time with the Newman Club on the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge.

     

    Religious sisters worked as faculty members at the diocese’s minor seminary.

     

    The first Catholic junior high school in the United States, as a complete and separate institution with its own administrator.

     

    One of the first dioceses to hold a congress of religious sisters in the United States. April 23, 1967.

     

    The first diocese to build a center specifically to house the administrative and departmental offices of the diocese. It would provide facilities and

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    Foundation for diocesan mission established early

    By Laura Deavers

    Fifty years ago Bishop Robert E. Tracy took his seat in the cathedra, the bishop’s chair, at St. Joseph Cathedral Church to become the founding bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. The date was Nov. 8, 1961; this would become the day the new Diocese of Baton Rouge, which had been carved from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, would begin the journey that would bring it great distinction.

    The Catholic Life

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    Catechetical material designed for students

    By Laura Deavers

    Editor

    Age-appropriate catechetical material on the history of the Diocese of Baton Rouge has been distributed to all Catholic schools and churches in the diocese to help communicate the significance of this golden jubilee.

    Peggy LeBlanc, Christian formation coordinator at St. John the Baptist Church in Brusly, teaches a lesson on the history of the Diocese of Baton Rouge to high school students in the parish school of religion. Photo by Laura Deavers | The Catholic Commentator

     

    A coloring book was designed for the lower elementary students, while a PowerPoint presentation and written

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    ANNIVERSARY CHOIR

    Janelle Couvillon, director of music at St. Thomas More Church in Baton Rouge, directs those who will be singing in the choir for the 50th Anniversary Mass Nov. 6 at the Baton Rouge River Center Arena during a practice Sept. 26 at St. Thomas More Church. More than 114 people have joined the choir. Ken Thevenet, who is coordinating the music for the Mass, said it is not too late for people to sign up for the choir on the Diocese of Baton Rouge website diobr.org. Photo by Laura Deavers | The Catholic Commentator

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    50th Anniversary Quilt on display at Catholic Life Center

    By Laura Deavers

    Editor

    Bishop Robert W. Muench was filled with emotion when he saw the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Quilt that was put on display in the lobby of the Administration Building of the Catholic Life Center Sept. 2. After blessing the 10 x 8 foot quilt, the bishop spoke of “the kaleidoscope of color, places, persons and love” that was evident in the quilt, which was constructed of quilt squares designed and constructed by each Catholic church in the Diocese of Baton Rouge specifically for this quilt.

    Described as a kaleidoscope of color, representing the churches,

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