Mamie George Community Center Love Mission Gala honoring Father Dat Hoang of St. Faustina Catholic Church in Fulshear

Worship music streams over the crowd during Sunday morning mass at 11 a.m. at St. Faustina’s Catholic Church in Fulshear.

All around, the smiling faces of friendly parishioners greeting each other at service. No smile is wider than that of the church’s pastor, Father Dat Hoang, whose extraordinary life story fuels his joyful spirit and commitment to service.

Father Dat will be honored at the Mission of Love Gala on September 8, benefiting Catholic Charities’ Mamie George Community Center in Richmond.

He is the founding pastor of Saint Faustina, which began in 2014, when the priest was appointed by its archbishop, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, to solidify a congregation in the rapidly growing region of Fulshear.

Dat Hoang wanted to be a priest from the age of 10, while living with his large Catholic family in Vietnam.

Because his father had served as an officer in the South Vietnamese Air Force, their bishop advised them to leave the country to fulfill the youngster’s dreams.

It took two years and grueling journeys to escape. They were lost at sea and starved, rescued by a Soviet tanker, imprisoned, lost their life savings, separated from each other and attacked by pirates.

Eventually, they arrived in refugee camps. Dat Hoang’s faith remained strong as he served as an altar boy, even risking his life preparing for mass amid gunfire.

Eventually, Dat Hoang reunited with his brothers in Houston, where he pushed himself to learn English in high school, and went on to attend seminary and pursue his dream of becoming a priest.

The remarkable story of Father Dat will be the centerpiece of the Mission of Love Gala on September 8, 2022 at 6 p.m. at Safari Texas Ranch, 11627 FM 1464 in Richmond. For 11 years, the Mamie George Community Center has provided meals, gatherings and classes to keep seniors engaged and active.

In addition, the center offers vital services to people of all ages: pantry, financial assistance, assistance for female veterans and parenting education for young families.

Thousands of Fort Bend residents are helped each year by the center, located in a zip code with high levels of poverty.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, MGCC converted to home deliveries of meals and food to the elderly, virtual interaction with other customers, and drive-through food distribution. Nearly five million pounds of food have been distributed, with the help of a dedicated volunteer corps, since the start of the pandemic.

For tables and tickets to the Mission of Love Gala, visit www.CatholicCharities.org/MissionofLove. Those unable to attend but still wish to support the Mamie George Community Center and the services provided in Fort Bend County can visit www.CatholicCharities.org/MissionofLove/make-a-gift/

For more information on the Mission of Love Gala, contact Matt Johns at [email protected] or 713-874-6659.

Jill E. Washington