Home One community Father Peter Le Encourages Faith Among Vietnamese Catholics – Arkansas Catholic

Father Peter Le Encourages Faith Among Vietnamese Catholics – Arkansas Catholic

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A priest who broadcasts worldwide celebrated his 25th birthday on June 26 in Barling

Posted: August 12, 2022

Maryanne Meyerriecks

Father Peter Quang Le (left) is greeted by Father Diem Tran, a Messenger of Fatima from St. Clair, Mo., at Sacred Heart of Mary Church on the 25th anniversary of his ordination on June 26.

Friends, family and parishioners of Father Peter Quang Le knew the obstacles he faced during his 27-year journey to the priesthood.

They celebrated with the associate pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Barling his 25th anniversary as a priest on June 26.

“Since I was 5 years old, my mother took me to church every day and prayed for me to become a priest,” Father Le said.

He attended a minor seminary in the diocese of Quy Thon from the sixth to the final year. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, he continued his studies in philosophy and theology at college. When he was 23, in 1982, his parents, two sisters and four brothers moved to the United States, settling in Iowa. Still, Father Le stayed, expecting to complete his seminary studies in his home country.

“The Vietnamese community helps children communicate and worship with their grandparents who may not speak English,” Father Le said. “He preserves our culture and our religious traditions.”

“In August 1982, the Vietnamese government closed my seminary,” the 62-year-old said. “I went to live with my grandmother and took a job helping the bishop in Quy Thon Cathedral, hoping my seminary would reopen. In 1990, the government authorized the opening of six seminaries, but our seminary was still closed.

In 1992 he moved to Iowa, but a year later moved to Arkansas with a brother and sister. He met with Bishop Andrew J. McDonald to see if he could complete his seminary education in the Diocese of Little Rock.

“Bishop McDonald sent me to the University of Arkansas Little Rock for a year to learn English,” Father Le said, “then the Diocese of Quy Thon gave me a scholarship to go to Rome. , where I learned Italian and studied theology and canon law. .”

On June 29, 1997, Father Le was ordained in Rome by Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.

“Blessed Cardinal Francis is now a candidate for canonization,” he said. “He had been imprisoned by the Communists from 1975 to 1988 and went to the Holy See after his release.”

Upon his return to Little Rock, he spent a year serving at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church until he was reassigned to Christ the King Church in Fort Smith. After 10 years, the Vietnamese ministry moved to Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Barling, which became its permanent home.

While serving in the state since 1997, in August 2013 he was officially named a priest of the Diocese of Little Rock.

“The Vietnamese community helps children communicate and worship with their grandparents who may not speak English,” Father Le said. “He preserves our culture and our religious traditions.”

Some of these traditions include devotions to Our Lady of La Vang and Vietnamese martyrs. Father Le and parishioners travel 150 miles to Carthage, Missouri, each August, joining 50,000 other Vietnamese Catholics to celebrate Marian Days.

Several years ago, he accompanied the Eucharistic group of young people on a mission trip to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, where they built houses, repaired a bridge and cared for poor rural families.

“We still have new families coming from Vietnam,” Father Le said. “Usually they are sponsored by their relatives, who help them find jobs at the chicken factory. We also provide assistance when requested.

Technology has helped Father Le expand his ministry to Vietnamese-speaking Catholics around the world. Through Divine Mercy Radio, Father Le helps them to pray and learn together as one community, dispersed after the communist takeover.

He started Divine Mercy Radio through his website at radioltxc.org. It is accessible via Facebook and Twitter and has a presence on several podcast sites and YouTube. It broadcasts daily from 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., using a combination of live and recorded material, assisted by around 50 friends who provide additional content and music.

“We start each day with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 2 p.m.,” Fr. Le said, “and we also broadcast homilies, lessons on the Bible, Church history, and catechism. In the evening, we recite the rosary and the rosary of the Holy Spirit. We have testimony, witnesses and questions and answers.


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