CAMDEN, N.J. (CNS) — Rod Herrera, director of Child and Youth Protection for the Diocese of Camden, and Vietnamese Catholic leaders of South Jersey presented Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan with a bit of history.

They gave the bishop a copy of the first Vietnamese translation of the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of “Children and Young People” and their “Essential Norms” document that assures that all dioceses and eparchies adhere to the charter.

Herrera was joined in presenting the translation by Thu Nguyen, director of Most Precious Blood Parish’s Vietnamese American Cultural and Education Center in West Collingswood, and Deacon Kim Nguyen, of Most Precious Blood Parish.


The newly translated documents have since been sent to the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops and are now available on the U.S. bishops’ website, along with the English- and Spanish-language versions.

The U.S. bishops’ charter — first adopted in 2002 and revised in 2005 and 2011 — outlines how church leaders must provide a safe environment for children and young people in church-sponsored activities. It established uniform procedures for handling sex-abuse allegations and adopted a “zero tolerance” policy.

The charter also requires background checks and training in child protection for church employees and requires dioceses facing allegations made about priests or other church workers to alert authorities, conduct an investigation and remove the accused person from duty.

The bishops approved the norms in 2006. The charter and norms have Vatican approval.

Earlier this year, Herrera asked Thu Nguyen to translate the documents, after discovering that there were no translations available for the nation’s Vietnamese Catholics.

No stranger to interpreting and translating texts, Thu last year assisted with the Vietnamese translation for the program of Philadelphia’s World Meeting of Families.

As director of the volunteer-based center in West Collingswood, which “helps Vietnamese immigrants become acclimated into American life,” Thu works with Vietnamese Catholics and their families, providing social activities and classes that teach both Vietnamese and English to all ages.

After Herrera gave her the project of translating, she recruited volunteers to help, including two other translators with Deacon Nguyen as the editor. Most Precious Blood’s pastor, Father Joseph Nguyen, (no relation among the three), oversaw the parish endeavor.

Explaining the difficulties of the project, she cited the differences in Vietnamese and English culture.

“It’s one thing to translate; it’s another to convey the meaning of what is being written, and interpret,” she told the Catholic Star Herald, Camden’s diocesan newspaper.

Thu depended on both dictionaries and fellow Vietnamese Catholics for difficult passages.


The English-, Spanish- and Vietnamese-language versions of the U.S. bishops’ charter and norms can be found on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops here.


Sanchez is a staff writer at the Catholic Star Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Camden.