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Father Tong Nguyen has been sworn in as a new canonical judge, or canonist, for the Diocese. A canonist is an expert on the topics in the Code of Canon Law, from financial issues to religious orders to sacramental law. On a day-to-day basis, the majority of canonists’ work is judging marriage annulments, although they are also consulted on a variety of other topics.

“I am humbled to accept such responsibilities and functions of this role with the greatest care and fidelity,” said Fr. Nguyen.

“To adjudicate a nullity of marriage is a gift and it is a ministry of justice and reconciliation which I am bound to observe all ecclesiastical laws by finding if a declaration of invalidity or dissolution might be possible. The tribunal is getting more cases in response to a rapid growth of the population in our diocese in recent years, and I wanted to thank Bishop Rojas for entrusting me to the office of the judge,” added Fr. Nguyen.

Fr. Nguyen first joined the Office of Canonical Services as an auditor and case instructor in 2016. Two years later he began his studies to earn a Canon Law degree through an online program at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. He received his JCL last December, finishing the four-year program in just three years.

“Fr. Tong has proven himself to be a compassionate and dedicated canonist. Of course, he has been especially helpful on Vietnamese annulment cases. I hope he has many years of working in canonical services,” said Father David Andel, Judicial Vicar for the Diocese and Director of the Office of Canonical Services.

Fr. Nguyen’s appointment to become a canonical judge is especially good news since many of the priests currently serving on the Diocesan Tribunal are aging and retired.