History of Đoàn Tôma Thiện
A long long time ago in a far far away galaxy…
The year was 1996. There was a Catholic Church named Holy Cross on Chamblee Tucker Road. In this church, in the Vietnamese Catholic community, before mass there was chaos at every corner. Kids were running wild beating up on each other without cause. The smaller kids were crying without end. The big kids were screaming without pause. Oh how scary it was! The future of the Vietnamese community at Holy Cross was at stake.
Either people figure out how to teach the little ones about God and the Church or there will be no Vietnamese Catholic community at Holy Cross as we know it. No one knew how to control those little monsters. It seemed like the war to control was a lost cause. Life was coming to an end was we know it.
But then… a brave young man named Nguyen Quoc Tuan stepped up to lead the future Huynh Truong into battle. Hope was once again restored. Anh Tuan lead the band of fresh recruits (Chu Thanh, Co Phuong, Chi Toan, Anh Tat, Chi Thuy, Anh Huynh, Chi Dieu, Chi Binh, Chi Thuy, Chi Van, and Anh Quang) to all the training camps that they could find.
Every Sunday, the battles were fought with sweat and blood to guide over 200 kids to righteousness. They fought bravely to organize many events like Tet Trung Thu, Tet Nguyen Dan, and trips to Florida. Thanks to their leadership, many more people chose to become Huynh Truong to join the war.
Anh Tuan lead the war from 1996 until 1999 when the reign was handed over to Chi Toan Tran. She took over the lead from 1999 until 2000 when Anh Tat Nguyen was elected. During this time, the war was taking its toll on many of the original Huynh Truong. Anh Tat fought bravely from 2000 until 2002 pulling in new recruits. When hope was wearing thin, each Sunday he would rally the new Du Truong to fight for the souls of an increasing army of 300 kids.
Then Anh Tat handed the reign to Anh Long Nguyen who would rule through the tumultuous years between 2002 and 2006 when our Church was struggling to build a new Church. Leading the fresh recruits with his experience, he would earn his respect on the battlefield paved with sweat and blood as the war rages on.
By the end of 2005, there were about 25 Huynh Truong up against 350 students. As God would have it, things took a twist as we moved out to our new Church in the fateful winter months of 2006. As Anh Long was handing over the reign to Anh Vu Nguyen when the number of students almost doubled to 650 kids while the number of Huynh Truong was only 30. Chaos reigned that year and many Huynh Truong fought bravely with the lead of Anh Vu from 2006 to 2008 to desperately hold on while waiting for reinforcements. The fight for hope continued under Chi Thao in 2008 and Chi Mimi in 2016.
Our hope remains strong now under the leadership of Anh Khoa since 2019. Although reinforcements are arriving slowly, the current force of Huynh Truong are holding their ground with little that they have as the war wages wages on each Sunday…
Behind the Patch
After 23 years, we’re excited to release for the first time ever our đoàn patch! To explain some of the symbolism:
Each color represents the various branches of our movement, including Ấu Nhi, Thiếu Nhi, Nghĩa Sĩ, Hiệp Sĩ and Huynh Trưởng.
The chalice and TNTT cross with the sun rays above it embody the Eucharist as the source and summit of our lives.
The chalice is intertwined with Vietnam as the Vietnamese culture intertwines with our faith and grounds us in our heritage.
The map of the state of Georgia then shifts us back to reminding us of how far we've come in bringing VEYM beyond the Vietnamese borders. The TNTT cross is also conveniently located approximately near our home, Norcross, GA.
The palm leaves represent the 117 Holy Vietnamese Martyrs who laid the foundation for our faith and continue to watch over us as the patrons of our parish.
Who is Saint Tôma Trần Văn Thiện?
Tôma Thiện was executed by King Minh Mạng on September 21, 1838 because he refused to step over the cross.
Tôma Thiện was canonized on June 1988 by Pope John Paul II.
Feast Day of Tôma Thiện: September 21
What parish does Đoàn Tôma Thiện belong to?
We are part of the Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Catholic Church in Norcross, Georgia, part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta.
For more info about our church, visit http://www.cttdvnatl.org/en/.
Đoàn Tôma Thiện is a part of VEYM/TNTT. What is Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement (VEYM) or Phong Trào Thiếu Nhi Thánh Thể Việt Nam (TNTT)?
The Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement is a non-profit organization, under the leadership of the Catholic Church. Its aim is to teach youths to be virtuous people and good Christians. It also offers services for the youth. Throughout its years of service, the Movement has kept pace with social and cultural changes of the day in an attempt to reach out to the youth of all times.
For official info on VEYM/TNTT, visit https://www.veym.net/about/.
What region is Đoàn Tôma Thiện in VEYM/TNTT?
We are part of Liên Đoàn (League of Chapters) Joan of Arc.
For more info, visit http://www.ldjoanofarc.org/
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