Father John Vianney first Beatitudes priest to be ordained in Denver

Rocio Madera

On Nov. 7, the Community of the Beatitudes made history by ordaining the first member from their community in Denver. Father John Vianney Thanh Viet Thai, originally from Vietnam, was ordained a priest by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Parish. 

Father Vianney is the first priest of the Community of Beatitudes to be ordained in Denver. Ordinations of their members usually take place France, where the community was founded in 1973, but due to the pandemic, Archbishop Aquila ordained Father Vianney is a very intimate celebration. 

Father Vianney was born on March 31, 1983, in Vinh Long, South of Vietnam. He was raised in a non-Catholic family, something that didn’t stop him from following God’s call. In 2000, when he was a high school senior, he moved to student housing at a Catholic parish, thanks to a family friend who was Catholic. There, he walked into a Catholic church and experienced the sacrifice of the Holy Mass for the very first time. He immediately fell in love with the beauty of the liturgy. During his time there, he also learned about the parish charity work that was often led by the pastor of the church and the nuns from the charity congregation. Amazed by all these acts of kindness and mercy, he soon felt the desire to consecrate his life to God and serve the less fortunate. A year later, he was baptized during Easter Vigil. 

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila ordained Father John Vianney Thanh Viet Thai Nov. 7 at St. Catherine of Siena parish. Father Vianney is the first member of the Community of Beatitudes to be ordained in Denver. (Photo provided)

In 2002, he joined the Community of the Beatitudes and lived in their New Zealand house from 2003 to 2005. Years later, he took some time to complete a degree in psychology.  

In 2011, Father Vianney took his first vows with the Community of the Beatitudes and started his religious life and priesthood formation. From 2015 to 2019, he moved to Blagnac, France and continued his formation at the Catholic Institute of Toulouse. On June 29, 2019, he was ordained a deacon and two months later was assigned to the house of the Community of the Beatitudes in Denver and practiced his diaconate at Saint Catherine of Siena Parish.  

“The active faith of the American youth amazed me when I first arrived in Denver,” Father Vianney said “That’s why I am so pleased and happy to be ordained here. My challenge is to give testimony to the young adults of Saint Catherine of Siena Parish where I serve.” 

Along his journey, Father Vianney had important religious figures who helped him form into the priest he has become, starting with our Blessed Mother.  

Father Vianney is embraced by his brother priest and fellow Community of the Beatitudes member Father Anthony Ariniello. (Photo provided)

“I have had a deep devotion to Mary through the rosary even before I was baptized…Also Saint Catherine Labouré and Saint Therese of Lisieux,” he said. “For my priesthood ministry in the future, I entrust myself especially to my patron saint, John-Mary Vianney and to Saint John Paul II.”  

As he begins his new journey, he looks forward to celebrating Mass and the sacrament of confession.  

“I feel unworthy but also very excited and grateful that my desire will become true,” Father Vianney concluded. “And surely, to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus every day and to show the mercy of God through the sacrament of Reconciliation.”  

Editor’s note: An earlier version is story suggested that Father John Vianney was the first member of the Community of the Beatitudes to be ordained in Denver. He is in fact the first priest from their community to be ordained in Denver. We apologize for the confusion.

COMING UP: Preparing your Home and Heart for the Advent Season

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The Advent season is a time of preparation for our hearts and minds for the Lord’s birth on Christmas.  It extends over the four Sundays before Christmas.  Try some of these Ideas to celebrate Advent in your home by decorating, cooking, singing, and reading your way to Christmas. Some of the best ideas are the simplest.

Special thanks to Patty Lunder for putting this together!

Advent Crafts

Handprint Advent Wreath for Children 
Bring the meaning of Advent into your home by having your kids make this fun and easy Advent wreath.

Materials
Pink and purple construction paper
– Yellow tissue or construction paper (to make a flame)
– One piece of red construction paper cut into 15 small circles
– Scissors
– Glue
– Two colors of green construction paper
– One paper plate
– 2 empty paper towel tubes

1. Take the two shades of green construction paper and cut out several of your child’s (Children’s) handprints. Glue the handprints to the rim of a paper plate with the center cut out.

2. Roll one of the paper towels tubes in purple construction paper and glue in place.

3. Take the second paper towel and roll half in pink construction paper and half in purple construction and glue in place.

4. Cut the covered paper towel tubes in half.

5. Cut 15 small circles from the red construction paper. Take three circles and glue two next to each other and a third below to make berries. Do this next to each candle until all circles are used.

6. Cut 4 rain drop shapes (to make a flame) from the yellow construction paper. Each week glue the yellow construction paper to the candle to make a flame. On the first week light the purple candle, the second week light the second purple candle, the third week light the pink candle and on the fourth week light the final purple candle.

A Meal to Share during the Advent Season

Slow-Cooker Barley & Bean Soup 

Make Sunday dinner during Advent into a special family gathering with a simple, easy dinner. Growing up in a large family, we knew everyone would be together for a family dinner after Mass on Sunday. Let the smells and aromas of a slow stress-free dinner fill your house and heart during the Advent Season. Choose a member of the family to lead grace and enjoy an evening together. This is the perfect setting to light the candles on your Advent wreath and invite all to join in a special prayer for that week.

Ingredients:
– 1 cup dried multi-bean mix or Great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed
– 1/2 cup pearl barley (Instant works great, I cook separate and add at end when soup is done)
– 3 cloves garlic, smashed
– 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
– 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
– 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
– 1 bay leaf
– Salt to taste
– 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend (basil, oregano)
– Freshly ground black pepper
– One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice
– 3 cups cleaned baby spinach leaves (about 3 ounces)
– 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, extra for garnish

1. Put 6 cups water, the beans, barley, garlic, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaf, 1 tablespoons salt, herb blend, some pepper in a slow cooker. Squeeze the tomatoes through your hands over the pot to break them down and add their juices. Cover and cook on high until the beans are quite tender and the soup is thick, about 8 hours. 

2. Add the spinach and cheese, and stir until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve with a baguette.