News: Father Tran funeral arrangements

December 11, 2019

Father Tan Tran

Father Tan Van Tran, 62, died at his home on Dec. 10. A visitation will be held from 1 to 4 p.m., with Rosary in Vietnamese at 3:30 p.m. and prayer service at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15 at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 16 at St Ambrose Cathedral. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19. at St. Peter Church in Council Bluffs.. Interment will be at Good Shepherd Cemetery in Huntington Beach, California.

Father Tan was born on April 18, 1957 in Bien Hoa Province, South Vietnam to Thuan Van Tran and Lich Thi Nguyen. He was one of seven children, raised in a good Catholic family. He attended seminary in the Diocese of Dong Nai, Vietnam from 1969-87, which included Seminary of St. Paul High School and college seminary in Vietnam.

In 1975, when Saigon fell to the communists, all seminaries were forced to close. Father Tan made the courageous decision to continue to as a seminarian, although this meant persecution by the State. Many of his friends were jailed. Tather Tan, however, lived with his bishop for seven years and had the opportunity to study philosophy and theology in an underground seminary from 1976-83. He did pastoral work for three years from 1984-87.

In 1988, Father Tan escaped Vietnam by boat alongside many other Vietnamese. After five days of dangerous sailing, Father Tan’s boat reached Malaysia. He spent seven months in Malaysia and six months in the Philippines, living in refugee camps where he ministered to other refugees that had fled their homelands. Father Tan arrived in America in April 1989, and in June became part of the Diocese of Des Moines. In 1992, he received a Master of Divinity Degree from Sacred Heart Seminary in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. 

Bishop William Bullock ordained Father Tan a priest of the Diocese of Des Moines on June 12, 1992. His many assignments throughout the years included: working in the Diocesan Administrative office in 1992; Pastoral Vicar at St. Patrick Parish in Missouri Valley from 1992-93, Parochial Vicar at St. Theresa Parish in Des Moines from 1993-96, Pastor at St. Patrick Parish (Bayard) and St. Joseph Parish (Jamaica) from 1996-2004. He also served as Pastor at St. Patrick (Corning) and St. Patrick (Lenox) from 2004-11, and Parochial Vicar at Corpus Christi Parish in Council Bluffs from 2012-13. In 2013, Fr. Tan served as hospital and nursing home chaplain in Council Bluffs, covering as many as nine nursing homes. He was also a sacramental minister at Holy Family Parish in Mondamin from 2016 until his passing.

He had a pastoral sensitivity to the sick and suffering. In his free time, Father Tan had a passion for “everything computers,” as well as a great love of music, often playing the violin, piano, or organ for others. He always found time to spend with those he loved: family, friends, fellow priests, and parishioners, as they were what he valued most. 

He is survived by his mother Lich Nguyen; four sisters Oanh Tran (Hien Pham), Thanh Tran (Tam Nguyen), Lan Tran (Hoa Nguyen), Lynn Phuong Tran; one brother Tien Tran (Huong Pham); and Andi Penton (Sponsor).  He was preceded in death by his father Thuan Tran; brother Minh Tran; brother-in-law Vincent Cuong Pham. 

Memorial contributions can be made to the Priest Pension Fund of the Diocese of Des Moines.