Father Ignatius Mary Kinh Dai Nguyen, CRM, a faithful, dedicated priest, dies at 67
FORT WORTH – “He had a great love for our Mother Mary and was a faithful, dedicated religious priest.”
That’s how members of the Congregation of the Mother of the Redeemer will remember Father Ignatius Antioch Mary Kinh Dai Nguyen, CRM, who died suddenly, September 14, in a Fort Worth hospital. He was 67.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on September 19 at the Holy Family Religious Retreat Center at 4057 Rendon Rd., Fort Worth. The Congregation of the Mother of Redeemer religious community in Carthage, Missouri will remember Fr. Nguyen with a visitation, funeral Mass, and burial next week.
The native of North Vietnam served as chaplain of the Vietnamese Catholic community at St. Rita Church in Fort Worth from 1997 to 2001 before becoming pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish from 2001 to 2005. After assignments in California and Minnesota, he returned to the diocese and became director of the Holy Family Religious Retreat Center in Fort Worth from 2015 until his death.
“Father Ignatius was a very organized man who was good at calculations and building projects,” said Father Francis Tran, CRM, provincial secretary. “He supervised construction of the rectory at Our Lady of Fatima and an auditorium at the retreat center.”
Along with 179 members of the Vietnam-based religious order, Fr. Ignatius escaped from his war-torn homeland in 1975. Fleeing by sea in crowded ships and small vessels, they were part of the humanitarian crisis known as the “boat people.”
Surviving the perils of the journey, members of the religious order lived in different refugee camps before reuniting in Carthage, Missouri where a monastery was established in 1975. It is now home to the congregation’s Assumption Province.
Bishop John J. Leibrecht ordained Fr. Ignatius to the priesthood on December 21, 1989 in the Carthage monastery’s Immaculate Heart of Mary Shrine. During the year, the priest often returned to the monastery for holidays, his annual retreat, and other special occasions. One of his former ministries included working as editor of his order’s monthly magazine.
“Fr. Ignatius was very social and good at telling stories,” Fr. Tran told the North Texas Catholic. “He had a good memory for details.”
The skilled cook also was known for his abilities in the kitchen.
“He was a good chef who liked to prepare Vietnamese dishes for large groups of people,” he added.
Deacon Michael Hoang served with Fr. Ignatius at Our Lady of Fatima Church, and remembered him as a hard-working priest who made improvements at the parish.
“He always wanted the best for his parishioners and communicated well with people to get the job done,” he said. “When things didn’t turn out the way he wanted, he quickly made sure it was redone the right way.”
Fr. Ignatius’ final assignment involved organizing visits from different youth, confirmation, and religious groups who came to the Holy Family center for retreats. Building relationships with people was one of his gifts, and retreat participants often heard him preach.
“He fulfilled all his responsibilities and duties and took them seriously,” Fr. Tran explained. “He wanted to know and love Christ and share that with the people he served.”