Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and in 1966 he entered St. Joseph Seminary, a small diocesan institute in Vietnam. His seminary formation was interrupted when the communist government took over the Country in 1975. Bishop-elect Nguyen and other seminarians were forced into hard labor in the rice fields to be allowed to continue their studies. Along with his family, Bishop Nguyen eventually fled to Beaumont, Texas. He worked at Catholic Charities in Hartford, Conn. before returning to his academics to study at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass. and Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass. He was ordained a priest on May 11, 1991. He was later incardinated into the Diocese of St. Augustine, Fla where he served at St. Joseph parish from 2013 until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Orange in 2017.