Oblate Associate, Kou Ly, a leader of the Hmong Catholic Community at St. Patrick’s Church, St. Paul, MN, was one of 18 men ordained to the permanent Diaconate by Bishop Joseph Williams on December 9, 2023. On Sunday, December 10, he served for the first time at Mass as permanent Deacon to Fr. Dwight Hoeberechts, OMI Pastor of St. Patrick’s Church. The Ordination is accessible on YouTube
Family traveled from around the United States and as far away as France to rejoice with Kou and his wife, Joua, including Kou’s niece, Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast, Sunisa Lee. Also on hand was one of Kou’s teachers, a member of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, Sr. Marie Aimee, who Kou said is, “like a second mother” to him.
Kou and his wife are very close to Fr. Luc Bouchard, OMI who arranged for Joua, her mother, and many other Hmong women and children to be rescued from the Communist government of Laos. Fr. Bouchard was unable to travel from Tewksbury, MA for the event, but was represented by Fr. Harry Winter, OMI. (Kou and Joua visited Fr. Bouchard in 2019, article here). Br. Craig Bonham, OMI from Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, MN, also took part in the Ordination ceremony representing Oblate Associates.
Kou and Joua are very grateful to the Parishioners of St. Patrick’s for hosting a Hmong traditional hand tying ceremony at the reception. The blessing of the ceremony was done by Fr. John Paul Erickson, a longtime friend of the family. They were blessed and honored with the presence of Bishop Joseph Williams, who led the tying of the strings.
In Kou’s speech, he asked all his guests to pray for him and his wife, “Pray for us that the Lord God will grant us wisdom and humility so we can fully serve the Church”.