Rev. Joseph M. Mai-Chi-Thanh, 92, of Champaign, Illinois died on July 25, 2021. He was born in Sachau, North Vietnam on August 16, 1928, the son of Mai Tam Tinh and Pham Thi Quat.
Father Joseph majored in Philosophy from the Major Seminary of St. Albert the Great in NamDinh, North Vietnam and in Theology at the Dominican House of Studies, Hong Kong. When he was 7 years old, Father Joseph M. Mai-Chi-Thanh started to “celebrate Mass” for the neighborhood children. That desire became a reality on May 29, 1957, when he was ordained a priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Saigon, Vietnam. Father Mai-Chi-Thanh’s ministry in his native Vietnam included teaching high school French, serving as the parochial vicar of a parish with 10,000 people, and helping to establish a high school for 1,500 students. He traveled to the United States in 1973 to accept a scholarship at Boston College and he visited central Illinois during the summer to spend time with friends. During his studies for a master’s degree in education, South Vietnam fell to the communists and Father Joseph decided to remain in the United States. Granted permission to come to the Diocese of Peoria in 1977 by Bishop Edward W. O’Rourke, he first served as administrator and then pastor at St. Augustine Parish, St. Augustine, and St. Patrick Parish in Raritan. He was also pastor at Sacred Heart, Farmer City; St. John, Bellflower; and St. Joseph and St. Mary, Pesotum. Father Joseph was named pastor emeritus of the Pesotum parishes and granted senior status in 2004. He also has ministered to Vietnamese Catholics in the Champaign area.
Visitation for Father Joseph will be on Thursday, July 29, 2021, at St. Matthew Parish in Champaign, from 9:45 am – 10:45 am. The Funeral Mass will be at 11 am. Burial will be at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Pesotum.
Memorials may be made in his honor to St. Mary Parish, Pesotum, or the St. Therese Seminarian Fund.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rev. Fr. Joseph Mai-Chi-Thanh, please visit our floral store.
St. Mary's Catholic Church
1247 County Road 200N, Pesotum IL 61863
The Diocese of Peoria Seminarian Endowment Fund
412 NE Madison Avenue, Peoria IL 61603