Priest expects 1000 at Van Nguyen funeral

More than 1000 people are likely to attend the funeral service for executed drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van, according to Melbourne priest Fr Peter Hansen, who will lead tomorrow's service.

CLICK HEREAustralian Associated Press reports that Nguyen's public funeral service will be held at St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral, in East Melbourne.

Up to 1000 people turned up for a multi-faith service held last month at the same cathedral, which Father Peter Hanson said was sufficiently large to hold the increased numbers expected to attend the funeral.

"I think it will be bigger, I'm not worried by that fact, I rejoice in the fact that so many people want to stand in support of his family," he said.

Nguyen, the 25-year-old former Melbourne salesman, went to the gallows in Singapore's Changi Prison last Friday almost three years after being caught at Changi Airport with nearly 400 grams of heroin.

Fr Hanson said the family had requested his funeral service be a celebration of the 25-year-old's life instead of a political statement about the death sentence.

He said the service would be traditional, despite reports Nguyen had requested the Robbie Williams song Better Man be played.

"Van made the positive choice as an adult to be baptised as a Catholic and so we send him to God in accordance with Catholic rights, so it will be a wholly Catholic service, but it will be a bilingual service," he said.

Ms Nguyen played a key role at the multi-faith service, but would not be doing any readings this time, Fr Hanson said.

"She will be the chief mourner as his immediate next of kin. I don't think there's a task currently allocated to her, I think she will probably just take the experience in," he said.

Priest expects 1,000 at Nguyen's funeral (Seven News/Australian Associated Press 6/12/05)

Pell says abolishing death penalty won't be easy (CathNews 5/12/05)
Van Nguyen's faith-filled last moments (CathNews 2/11/05)
Cathedral requiem for Van Nguyen (CathNews 2/12/05)
Churches, mosques echo with prayers (CathNews 1/12/05)
Prayer vigils for Van Nguyen (CathNews 30/11/05)
Priest says Australia 'galvanised' against death penalty (CathNews 29/11/05)
Statement from bishops urges compassion for Nguyen (CathNews 28/11/05)
Rome group set to mobilise world against death penalty (CathNews 25/11/05)
Commission urges Catholics act on death penalty (CathNews 23/11/05)
Pell gives details on papal plea for Nguyen (CathNews 21/11/05)
Catholic Students unite to help death row Aussie (CathNews 18/11/05)
Catholics and Buddhists pray to cheat hangman (CathNews 7/11/05)
Centacare Melbourne urges Govt to save Nguyen (CathNews 28/10/05)
Papal intervention for death row drug trafficker (CathNews 25/10/05)

Nguyen funeral 'not for protest' (Herald-Sun/Australian Associated Press 5/12/05)
Priest shares Nguyen's last words (The Courier Mail 6/12/05)

6 Dec 2005