Pope Francis named Bishop Pierre Nguyen Van Kham, an auxiliary bishop of the Ho Chi Minh City archdiocese, to become head of the Diocese of My Tho on July 26.
Bishop Nguyen was born in 1952 in Ha Dong, a suburb of Hanoi. Two years later, when Ho Chi Minh defeated the French and consolidated communist control over northern Vietnam, his family fled, along with hundreds of thousands of other Catholics, to the south.
He studied philosophy at Saint Thomas Seminary in Long Yuen, and theology at Saint Joseph´s Seminary in Ho Chi Minh City; He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City in 1980.
He holds a doctorate in pastoral theology from the Catholic University of America, and served as executive secretary for the Vietnamese bishops' conference.
In 2008, he was consecrated an auxiliary bishop of Ho Chi Minh City, where he had continued to serve until Saturday's appointment as Bishop of My Tho, which is located 44 miles southwest of Ho Chi Minh City.
The Diocese of My Tho had been vacant since September, when its ordinary was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City. It serves some 127,000 Catholics, who are 2.4 percent of the local population, and has 125 priests and 282 religious.