Greetings to:

- Your Excellency, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-fai, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples;

- Your Excellency, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the non-residential Papal Representative for Viet Nam and the current Apostolic Nuncio to Israel;

- Your Excellency, Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Viet Nam (CBCV) and Chancellor of the Catholic Institute of Viet Nam (CIV);

- Your Eminence, Cardinal Peter, and Your Excellencies;

- Mr. Tran Tan Hung, Deputy Head Government Committee for Religious Affairs, responsible for the activities in Southern Viet Nam;

- General Vicars, Monsignors, and Rectors of Seminaries and Institutes; Superiors of Religious Orders and Congregations;

- Honored Guests;

- Priests, Brothers and Sisters, Faculty, and Staff of the CIV;

- Priests, Brothers and Students of the CIV.

After many years of concern, preparation and a trial year, today I joyfully present the Catholic Institute of Viet Nam to our Bishops, Catholics, benefactors and honored guests.

These are priests, religious men and women, and lay faithful who passed the entrance test and have become the first students of the first academic year, 2017-2018, of the CIV:

During the first year of the Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) Program, 40 religious men and women and members of the lay faithful were enrolled.

During the preparation year for the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) Program, 10 priests and religious men were enrolled.

During the first year of the S.T.L. Programs in Biblical Theology and Dogmatic Theology, 18 priests and religious men were enrolled.

The total enrollment of the first academic year of the CIV was 68 students.

During my speech at the Opening Ceremony for the One Year Preparation Program of CIV on the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross on September 14, 2016, I presented a brief history and perspective of the CIV. Today I would like to focus on two main points:

- The characteristics of the CIV, and

- The introduction of the Faculty and the Administration Team of the CIV.

1. Typical Characteristics

Whereas the Theological Institute is recognized by Holy See, the CIV has a structure and programs in accord with the rules of the Congregation for Catholic Education. The special feature of the CIV is its spirit that results in a trust and enthusiasm that directs all the activities of the CIV.

The first highlighted point is to find God’s wisdom

Teaching and studying at the CIV brings to the Institute its own desire to seek God’s wisdom and to pass it on to others.

Sincerely I learned about her, and ungrudgingly do I share—her riches I do not hide away; for she is an unfailing treasure; those who gain this treasure win the friendship of God, being commended by the gifts that come from her discipline. (Wis 7:13-14)

While applying scientific methods that are suitable to study and research at a theological institute, the students of CIV are guided to seek God’s wisdom. The theological views that are studied are the efforts of many generations that seek the wisdom of God.

For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Cor 1:22-25).

In this pespective, CIV is a faith community of disciples attracted by the One who loved mankind so much that He became man, suffered, died, and rose again, so that human beings may have eternal life. This group of disciples is able to say as the Prophet Jeremiah’s prayer:

O Lord, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. (Jer 20:7).

The Spirit of Unity

The second highlighted point of CIV is the spirit of unity, capable of gathering different elements, to make them complement each other and to enrich all. The spirit of unity is a hidden nature of CIV because the Institute is a project of CBCV for the Chuch in Viet Nam; and the improvement of institute is the result of the collaboration of dioceses, religious orders, priests, brothers and sisters and lay faithful.

2. Introduction of the Personnel of CIV

A good idea is just a theory and a great plan is only a dream unless someone acts on them. The people who make the CIV project come true are the administrators, professors, all members of the Support Team, the Secretariat, the Library, the Financial Department whom today I would like to introduce to the Bishops, Superiors, guests, benefactors, students of CIV.

- Fr. Anthony Nguyen Cao Sieu, SJ, is the Head of Academic Department which plans the programs and selects professors; Father Anthony is also the Head of Support Team which includes two groups namely the Academic Support and Daily Life Support.

- Fr. James Do Huu Nghia, OP, is the Director of the Library.

- Fr. Joseph Ta Huy Hoang, Sai Gon Archdiocese, is the Head of Language Department; Fr. Joseph is also the Head of the Financial Department which includes three groups: fund raising, organizing, and accounting.

- Fr. Vincent Nguyen Cao Dung, SCJ, is the Head of Secretariat.

3. Gratitude

I would like to express my gratitude to the Bishops of CBCV and Superiors of Religious Orders, especially to Bishops and Superiors who have allowed priests, brothers and sisters to participate in all activities of CIV.

I would like to thank the Education Corporation of Nguyen Hoang Group and all benefactors who have supported or will support CIV in the future.

Finally, I would like to thank the Organizing Team, especially:

- The Pastor of Hang Xanh Parish and all members of this Parish,

- Fr. Joseph Dinh Van Huan, the Head of Liturgy Committee in Xuan Loc Diocese,

- Congregation of the Handmaids of Jesus the Priest,

- The Dominican Sisters of Rosa de Lima,

- The Congregation of the Lovers of the Holy Cross of Go Vap,

- The Daughters of Mary of the Rosary of Chi Hoa,

- Congregation of the Lovers of the Holy Cross of Thu Thiem,

- The Orientation Community of Thanh Da,

- The Communication Committees of Sai Gon Archdiocese and Xuan Loc Diocese,

- Sound and Light Team.

+ Joseph Dinh Duc Dao

Bishop of Xuan Loc Diocese

President of CCE

Rector of CIV