Vietnam Wedding November 2005

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In October 2005, Msgr. Bigelow traveled to Viet Nam to officiate at the marriage of his oldest Asian nephew, Johnny Tran to the lovely Van Do. This took place in the city of Ho Chi Minh. 
While visiting the city with family and friends, Monsignor availed himself the opportunity to visit the PHU MY ORPHANAGE. You can read about Monsignor's visit and continuing support of the orphanage in his Social Ministry section.

Below are photos of my visit to Vietnam and of the wedding.


This is a shot of the archdiocesan Cathedral of Notre Dame, Saigon. The statue of the Blessed Virgin is that of Our Lady of Peace. 

The week after I returned home to Minnesota, she was alleged to have been crying. Thousand of people crowded the square clogging traffic downtown to a standstill. 

Word has it that she had done that previously during the Viet Nam War.

Here is the bridal couple, Johnny Tran and Van Dinh. In Vietnamese culture, the wife keeps her own name. With them are the groom's brothers Martin, Vinh, and Joseph, as well as yours truly.
A wedding day in Vietnam begins with a series of processions. Here I am leading the early morning procession from the groom's house to the bride's house. Leading a wedding procession is a great honor.  Once at the bride's house we formally present gifts to the bride's family.

Note how small the neighborhood streets are. It only accommodates one line of people and two motorbikes, one in each direction!

I used a cane because I had a serious fall in the hotel lobby, injuring my knee. This was the second such fall in six months in a hotel lobby. Bishop Judd said I had to "...stop having these fits of ecstasy, being slain by the Spirit in hotels!"

This is the return procession in which the bride is brought to the groom's home. At each place, the parents are offered small sips of ceremonial wine, prayers are said to the ancestors, and prayers to the Virgin Mary are sung.
This is a photo inside the church where the wedding took place, St. Vin Son Church.  The view is of the steps leading from the pews up to the dais where the altar sits.
Here I am blessing the wedding rings with Holy Water.  Assisting is Father Chi, pastor of the parish and celebrant of the Mass.
Here I am at the reception dinner with two new friends.  Eighteen other young friends had their picture taken with me by their parents. 

There were 450 in attendance at the wedding reception. The dinner included many course of diverse foods. It opened with both traditional and contemporary dancing and singing from a professional troupe on stage, with the newly weds and the immediate families being led to the stage via a long path through the room. Eight attendants in red bellhop uniforms carrying hoops preceded the enturage. Two personal female attendants in long colorful traditional dresses with colored unbrellas walked behind the wedding couple. As they came closer to the front, two cannons shot tiny foil into the air with great fanfare. 

Here is a photo of me with Tran Nguyen and five-year-old Thanh. Thanh was my dinner partner and my constant keeper during dinner.

Here I am with my nephew and groom-to-be Johnny Tran before his wedding.  

I think this traffic sign means "No dropping water balloons," but I'm wearing a hat just in case.


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The Reverend Monsignor Thomas Knopf-Bigelow
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Original text and certain graphics and photographs 2006 Thomas D. Knopf-Bigelow.  All rights reserved. Certain graphics 2003 Riverdeep Interactive Learning Limited, and its licensors. All rights reserved. Certain graphics 2003 Hemera Technologies, and its licensors. All rights reserved. Maps 2006 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Website designed and created by Will Beauchemin, Minneapolis, Minnesota.