Phillippians 4:6 reads in part, “Do not be anxious about anything.” Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Savannah parishioner MiLinda Nguyen, a catechumen at the parish, is in the process of learning the Bible and its many books and verses during Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes and that in itself can make anyone anxious. The fact that Nguyen, 30, a Redlands, California native whose family moved to Savannah when she was a little girl, is learning to read and comprehend the Bible in Vietnamese makes things a bit more interesting. “I’m already familiar with the Bible because I grew up going to Baptist churches,” said Nguyen, whose parents are Vietnamese nationals and practicing Buddhists. “I just wasn’t familiar with the Catholic way.” And definitely not in Vietnamese, despite being fluent in the language and growing up with Vietnamese being spoken at home. “It’s been like I am learning a new language. I never read the Bible in Vietnamese until now, some of the terms are just different.”
Sts. Peter and Paul is one of the Vietnamese parishes within the Diocese of Savannah. The parish has two catechumens making the transition into Catholicism.
Nguyen is an only child and her parents wanted her to become a follower of God no matter the church, the designation, no matter the people she sat side by side with in the pews. “I asked my mom about taking the classes and going through the process and she said if it is good then do it,” said Nguyen. The decision to become Catholic began with visits to Sts. Peter and Paul Church and a relationship she began with a fellow parishioner. “I had always been interested but never took the steps to join the church,” she admits. She attended Mass at St. Frances Cabrini Church, Savannah as well and has always been comfortable celebrating in a Catholic setting. The next logical step was to begin the process and go through the experience.
A nail tech and cosmetologist, Nguyen had to find a way to balance work with her RCIA studies and thus far all is going well. She is on her way to becoming a Catholic, something she is looking forward to. “It’s been tough but I’m studious so I am really enjoying learning new things.” New things like the Vietnamese pronunciation of the Holy Trinity, Thien Chua Ba Ngoi. “I was like, Oh, that’s how you pronounce it,” said Nguyen with a laugh. “I didn’t know what it was called in Vietnamese.”
She’s learning. Philippians 4:6 closes with … . “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known by God.” Nguyen’s request to become a Catholic is being answered, now if only she can get those Vietnamese pronunciations down pat. “I’m learning,” said Nguyen.