Dear Fr. Francis Nhut,
So good to see you last Sunday, at Ba Chuong Church, before the 10:30 am English Mass began. I was hoping to visit and talk with you a bit, after Mass.
After the Mass I went to the receptionist to ask for you, and he pointed to me, that you were in a parlor talking with a man. I saw that this was a very deep, intense conversation, like some serious counseling. I waited for a bit, but then left. So sorry that we were not able to visit.
Was so good to worship with the Ba Chuong English community and see that all was going well. I was invited to attend the celebration this coming Sunday, for the Holy Spirit Choir’s Anniversary. Unfortunately, I am not available, as this is my final weekend here in Vietnam, before leaving for California next week. Tam Bui and I are already scheduled to visit the English Mass community in Binh Duong, as we have not yet been available to go to Phu Cuong Cathedral these past weeks. Wishing you, and all the dedicated choir members blessings and a joyful celebration.
Some follow up, and I am cc Sam Vo and Tam Bui on these topics….
1) Mistake on song #322 Companions on the Journey
A horrific error! For verse one, the second line of lyrics/melody (strangers in God’s house’ we are fed and we are nourished, by the) is missing from English Missal Songbook 2021-2023!
I saw the repair you have done for this verse in having someone type up the words, and this little piece of paper was pasted onto the page of the songbook. Oh, but that does not look attractive at all!
I have mentioned this error to Tam already, and have proposed a solution. OCPVN would like to replace these books that you have, with new ones, which would have the song printed
on a separate piece of paper. This piece of paper could be slid into the back of the book, inside the plastic cover. We do not wish for you to use books that have the appearance of the songbook damaged by this error. I will ask Sam and Tam to take care of everything, in the coming week. This will be of no charge or cost to the Ba Chuong English Mass community.
2) Bookmarks for the English Mass Year C
I noticed that some books had the colorful bookmark. This is helpful for people to find the page for the readings of the Sunday. But some books did not have the bookmark.
So, perhaps the Ba Chuong community could use more? I am asking Sam to be in contact with you, and do not hesitate to ask more bookmarks as needed. 40 units? 60 units?
3) Training the organist, Hiep
I visited Ba Chuong some weeks ago, and saw and heard a young man play the organ. I learned his name was Hiep. He is talented and so lucky for the Ba Chuong community that he is available to accompany the English Mass.
Last Sunday, I listened to his playing a bit more closely. He is doing his own improvising of chords/harmonies for the Mass parts and songs. This could use improvement. I would like to propose that an experienced Vietnamese organist, in playing for English Masses in Saigon, could meet and work with Hiep a few times. This organist could show Hiep how American composers provide their own harmonization for the songs, which better suits the structure and melodic contour of the song. All of these songs with chords are available from OCPVietnam in the accompaniment books.
I am thinking of a man, named Nam, in his early 30’s who lives in Quan Tan Binh, could help. He plays the organ for the Saigon Cathedral several times a week, and is a competent musician.
Would you be open to this?
If so, perhaps Hiep’s mother could be asked if she would approve. (As Hiep is only 16 years old, of course his mother would be informed, to know of these proposed lessons.)
Let me know of your thoughts and I can ask Tam to help set up the connection in the next week or so.
4) Evaluation of English Missal Year C
Tam and I are beginning to work on English Missal Year A, to be available this fall. We will be making a few very minor adjustments. As this process is beginning can you give us your feedback the Year C book as used so far?
In comparison to the previous English Missal 2021, and previous years….do you have any comments, edits, requests, or suggestions?
I saw that the Ba Chuong English Mass community uses two prayers, found on the back cover of English Missal Year C, Prayer to St. Michael, and the Prayer For All Needs, at the conclusion of the Mass. We will ensure that those prayers will continue to be on the back cover of English Missal Year A, and Year B.
Again, sorry I am not able to see you and everyone this coming Sunday. But if ever you have a need, or in the future discover an error in any OCP Vietnam publication, please do not hesitate to contact Tam Bui and/or Sam Vo.
I am leaving on Wednesday, June 8th for California, hoping to return to Saigon on the second week of September. Until then, blessings and in gratitude on how you serve the ex-pats and others at Ba Chuong.