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Meet Fr. Binh Quach, the Master of Dialogue

Fr. Binh Quach, CSSpFr. Binh The Quach is a quiet man with a peaceful demeanor steeped in Asian tradition who wants to unify people through dialogue. He loves all things Mary. His Vietnamese name Binh means peace, The means virtue and Quach means nation.

Fr. Binh's Many Roles as a Priest

A Congregation of the Holy Spirit priest or Spiritan, Fr. Binh has served as a religious priest, diocesan dean, chancellor, vicar general, seminarian formation director, spiritual director, and leadership formator, retreat master for youth and adults, teacher of philosophy, spirituality and Biblical studies. He was ordained in Wichita, Kansas, in 1991.

Returning to America to Lead the Center for Faith & Culture

He recently served the Spiritans in both Taiwan (2005 to 2015) and China (2015 to 2018), but returned to the United States in 2018 to serve as the director of the Donald S. Nesti, CsSp Center for Faith & Culture at the University of St. Thomas Houston. He returned to serve as director of the Center on the behest of Fr. Donald Nesti, who retired as the founder and director after 25 years of service.

Fr. Binh spearheaded the 25th anniversary of the Center in 2019.

“I met Fr. Nesti when he was a professor of spirituality at Josephinum Pontifical College in Columbus, Ohio, said Fr. Binh. “It was providential to have met him as a young priest. He suggested I study at Berkley where I earned my PhD in Philosophy of Religions.

“When the Communist government shut down my work in China, I chose to return to the United States and continue the legacy of my former professor and mentor Fr. Nesti,” Fr. Binh said.

This is Fr. Binh’s second time to work at the University of St. Thomas. From 2001-2004, he taught undergraduate theology and Bible Studies in the Archdiocesan Deacons Program.

Dialogue Leads People to Discern the Truth

Now, back in Houston and at St. Thomas, he builds his legacy in and through the four pillars of the Center. He hopes to contribute to the larger community in Houston and continue his Spiritan mission in America, which has given him a sense of belonging, participation and mission. The four pillars include: 1) pastoral initiative, 2) ecumenical and inter religious dialogue, 3) academic program and 4) continuing education for adults.

In all four areas, Fr. Binh encourages critical thinking, dialogue and respect.

Fr. Binh, who loves to cook, uses the metaphor of preparing the meal to describe the dynamics of the Center, which works to bring diverse people of different races, creeds, cultures and religions together in dialogue. “You must savor all the flavors and you must cook the meal with love, reverence and respect.”

Fr. Binh sees the Center as a welcoming round table that invites people from all backgrounds to sit together and look at critical issues of the day through dialogue and an exchange of ideas. The Center is a place to shed light on the issues and discern the truth.

“The Center is a home for people to come to be encouraged and feel comfortable. It is a place where dialogue can help people see dignity and find meaning,” he said.

Fr. Binh sees the process as more important than the result. He wants people to use a critical approach – to think – and move beyond their comfort zone. He wants them to think outside the box. He wants people to struggle a little, ponder and juggle the alternatives to the question.

Fr. Binh loves teaching. For his students in the Master’s in Faith & Culture graduate program, he wants them to “unpack and look deep at the basic problems in society. They can acquire values, knowledge and skills to become faithful citizens of the American culture.”