Diocese of Kontum
In a land area of 25,110 square kilometers, the diocese’s territory covers two provinces of Gia Lai and Kon Tum.
As of April 1, 2009, the population was 1,702,829. The diocese has 40 minority ethnic groups. Most of residents are farmers.
Vietnamese, various minority dialects are in use.
In 1850 foreign and Vietnamese missioners started to evangelize tribal groups in Kon Tum province. They established many missionary centers that still exist so far. They also trained tribal catechists and clergy to work with local tribal villagers. Many tribal villagers converted to Catholicism.
French Bishop Martial Jannin, the first bishop of the local Church, built Kontum missionary seminary (1935-1938). The timber building is still in the compound of the Bishop’s House and displays old items, maps, musical instruments, tools used by late missioners and tribal groups.
Missioners transcripted some tribal languages into Roman script and translated the Scriptures into tribal languages.
They also composed bilingual dictionaries.
Missioners built an electricity hydro power plant and irrigation systems for local people to grow crops.
Kontum vicariate was erected on Jan. 18, 1932. At that time it had 24,525 Catholics served by 29 foreign and Vietnamese priests and 160 ethnic catechists.
Bishop Jean Sion, the second prelate of the vicariate established a congregation for tribal women in 1947.
He also established a local major seminary in 1946.
The vicariate was elevated to a diocese after the establishment of the Vietnam Church Hierarchy on Nov. 24, 1960.
Bishop Paul Seitz and other foreign missioners were forced to leave the diocese after the country was reunified
under communist rule in April 1975.
Bishop Alexis Pham Van Loc, the first Vietnamese prelate of the diocese, served the local Church until he retired in 1995.
During that time, many Church facilities were confiscated or closed by the government. Church activities were limited, local ethnic villages had no resident priests.
In recent years the diocese provides healthcare, education and accommodation for ethnic minority people with leprosy, orphans, people with physical disabilities and gives hostels and vocational skills for poor young people. It also develops welfare projects so as to improve material and spiritual life of local people, especially tribal groups who live in poverty.
The diocese also aims to train tribal catechists, clergy and Religious, and promote evangelization work among tribal groups as its top priority.
Diocesan website: www.giaophankontum.com
Road systems connect the area with other cities and provinces. Pleiku city, capital of Gia Lai province, has a domestic airport, connecting the area with Da Nang, Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh cities.
The area has tropical monsoon with a rainy season (May-October) and dry season (Nov-April). It has an average annual temperature of 22-25 degrees Celsius and rainfall of 2,200-2,500 millimeters.
Mainly agriculture can be found in the diocesan territory. Rice, manioc, sugar cane, coffee, tea, pepper, rubber, cacao are cultivated. There are also factories processing coffee, sugar, cooking oil. It also has cement factories wood furniture manufacturers.
The area has many hydroelectric plants.
The diocese is located in the Central Highlands bordering Laos and Cambodia. It mainly consists of mountains, lowlands and plateaus. On average the area is 500 meters higher than sea level. The land is suitable for rice, pepper, tea, cashew, coffee and rubber trees.
Religion includes Buddhism, Catholicsm, Protestantism, Bahai, Cao Dai and other indigenous faith traditions.
The diocese has various tribal cultures. The Space of Gong Culture in the Central Highlands was recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity on Nov. 15, 2005. The space of Gong culture consisting of gong instruments, performers, festivals, music, spreads over the Central Highlands provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Lam Dong.
Ethnic children get free milk at a Church center.
Bishop Michael Duc Oanh Hoang
Bishop’s House 146 Tran Hung Dao st., Thang Loi ward, Kon Tum city, Vietnam
+84 60 3862 372
Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh was born on Oct. 23, 1938 in Ha Noi. After he entered a minor seminary in Sai Gon, now Ho Chi Minh City, in 1952, he studied philosophy and theology at the Pius X Pontifical Insitute based in Da Lat city from 1960-1969. He was ordained a priest for Kontum diocese on Dec. 22, 1968. He worked at local schools, parishes and minor seminary. In 1996 he served as vicar general until Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Kontum on July 16, 2003. His episcopal ordination was held at the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Cathedral on Aug. 28 that year. He is the sixth prelate of the diocese.
He presently heads the Episcopal Commission for Evangelization of the Vietnam Bishops’ Conference.
Bishop Oanh speaks Latin, French, English and indigenous ethnic dialects of Bana, Jarai and Sedang.
- Bishop Pierre Tran Thanh Chung (1995 – 2003)
- Bishop Alexis Pham Van Lôc (1975 – 1990 deseased)
- Bishop Paul Leon Seitz, M.E.P (1952-1975)
- Bishop Jean Lievin Sion, M.E.P (1942-1951)
- Bishop Martial Jannin, M.E.P (1933-1940)
Bishop Emeritus Pierre Tran Thanh Chung was born in Da Nang city on Nov. 10, 1926. He was ordained a priest on Aug. 25, 1955 and coadjutor bishop of Kontum on Nov. 22, 1981. He became bishop of the diocese on April 13, 1995 before he retired on Aug. 28, 2003.
Father Peter Nguyen Van Dong
Thien Church –2 Quang Trung st., Pleiku city, Gia Lai province
+84 59 382 4713 Mobile: +84 909 274 705
Father Louis Nguyen Quang Hoa
Kotum Bishop’s House – 146 Tran Hung Dao, Thang Loi Ward, Kon Tum city, Kon Tum province
+84 1234 117 256, +84 60 3862 372
Father Joseph Tran Ngoc Tin
c/o Bishop’s House 56 Tran Hung Dao st., Thang Loi ward Kon Tum city, Vietnam
+84 905 450 894
Father John Baptist Tran Quang Truyen
c/o Bishop’s House 56 Tran Hung Dao st., Thang Loi ward Kon Tum city, Vietnam
+84 905 011 236
Father Michael Nguyen Hong Sung
- Baptized Catholics: 272,149
- Non-Christians: 1,451,335
Diocesan and Religious Priests
- Diocesan priests: 40
- Religious priests: 63
Religious Brothers, Sisters
- Religious Brothers: 22
- Religious Sisters: 450
Lay Missionaries, Catechists
- Lay missionaries:
- Catechists: 3,475
Seminaries, Houses of Formation
- Seminaries: —
- Houses of Formation:
- Parishes: 68
Diocese Activities and Organizations
Catholic Educational Institutions
- Day care centers: 4
- Day care centers–Students: 233
- Hostels : 18
- Hostels–Students: 1,800
- Vocational training centers: 3
- Vocational training centers–Students: 286
Catholic Social Welfare
- Centers for elderly, disabled people, orphans: 7
- Centers for lepers: 1
- Dispensaries: 4
Major Diocesan Commissions and Organizations
- Commission for Charity and Social Actions: Director: Father Peter Nguyen Van Dong
- Commission for Culture: Director: Father Joachim Nguyen Hoang Son
- Commission for Doctrine of the Faith: Director: Father Paul Dau Van Hong
- Commission for Holy Arts: Director: Father Paul Nguyen Duc Huu
- Commission for Holy Music: Director: Father Jerome Le Dinh Hung
- Commission for Liturgy: Director: Joseph Do Hieu
- Commission for Religious: Director: Father Nicolas Vu Ngoc Hai
- Commission for the Laity: Director: Father Thomas Nguyen Van Thuong
- Commission for Vocation Promotion: Director: Thomas Nguyen Van Thuong
- Commission for youths: Director: Father Francis Xavier Le Tien
Other Church Organizations and Associations
- Children of the Eucharist: Spiritual Director: Father Paul Nguyen Van Cong
- Legion of Mary: Spiritual Director: Father Joseph Pham Minh Cong
- Yao Phu (ethnic minority lay missioners): Spiritual Director:
- In-charge: Father Bartholomew Nguyen Dinh Phuoc
Inside the cathedral: Priestly ordination at the cathedral
Ethnic children having a meal at a Church center
Bishop Oanh’s coat of arm
People attending an open air Church event.
Cemetery for aborted fetuses: http://giupkontum.org/en/video-en/364-cemeteryofabortedchildren
Religious Congregations, Societies and Institutes
Religious Institutes of Men
- Brothers of the Christian Schools: FSC
- Congregation of the Mission: CM
- Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer: CSsR
- Family of Nazareth: FN
- Order of Friars Minor: OFM
- Order of Preachers: OP
- Salesians of Saint John Bosco: SDB
- Society of Jesus: SJ
Religious Institutes of Women
- Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul: DC
- Daughters of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception: DOLIC
- Dominican Sisters of Rosa Lima: DSRL
- Dominican Sisters of Tam Hiep: DSTH
- Dominican Sisters of Thanh Tam: DSTT
- Filles de la Medaille Miraculeuse: FMM
- Lovers of the Holy Cross of Bac Hai: LHCBH
- Lovers of the Holy Cross of Cai Mon: LHCCM
- Lovers of the Holy Cross of Phan Thien: LHCPT
- Lovers of the Holy Cross of Quy Nhon: LHCQN
- Lovers of the Holy Cross of Tan Viet: LHCTV
- Lovers of the Holy Cross of Thu Thiem: LHCTT
- Queen of Peace: QP
- Saint Paul de Chartres: SPC
- Servants of the Blessed Sacrament: SBS
- Sisters of Providence: SP