Information provided by Fr. Harry Winter, OMI
The Hmong Catholic Community at St. Patrick’s Church, St. Paul, MN honored Fr. Lucien Bouchard, OMI, and all the Oblates who have worked in Laos on Saturday May 5, 2018 at St. Patrick’s.
After Fr. Bouchard celebrated Mass in the Hmong language, the local Hmong Catholic community gathered along with representatives of the Hmong communities at St. Vincent’s in St. Paul, and from as far away as Wisconsin and California to honor Fr. Bouchard’s many years of ministry to the Hmong in Laos. Fr. Bouchard was accompanied on this trip from Tewksbury, MA by Fr. Tuan Pham, OMI, east coast Vocation Director and the only Vietnamese Oblate in the U.S., and by Fr. Harry Winter, OMI, who was instrumental in establishing the Hmong Community at St. Patrick’s.
Prior to Saturday’s celebration, on Friday afternoon Fathers Bouchard, Winter, and Pham paid a courtesy call on Archbishop Bernard Hebda, of St. Paul-Minneapolis. He was fascinated by Fr. Luc’s story of working with US Aid, to help supply the Hmong during the Vietnamese War, with rice dropped by helicopter, and with transporting the women and children refugees from the mountains of Laos to the Thai border.
On December 11, 2016, the Catholic Church Beatified 17 priests and lay people martyred between 1954 and 1970 in Laos during the Vietnam War. Six of those martyred were Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Fr. Bouchard worked with some of them at that time. Ultimately, Fr. Bouchard was forced to leave Laos and continue his ministry in Borneo