Very Rev. Bao Thai
Fr. Bao Thai is the rector of Christ Cathedral, the spiritual home of the Bishop of Orange and a major center of Catholic worship on the West Coast. He began in July 2022.
Bishop Kevin Vann appointed Fr. Bao to the position in February 2022. He is the second priest to serve as the cathedral’s rector, following the retirement of Fr. Christopher Smith.
Fr. Bao, who was first ordained a priest in June 2003, has served in several positions throughout the Diocese of Orange. Those include parochial vicar for the parishes of San Francisco Solano (2003-2005), St. Anthony Claret (2005-2007), Holy Family Cathedral (2009-2012) and Our Lady of La Vang (2012-2015). Fr. Bao also served concurrently as parish administrator of La Purísima Catholic Church for a six-month period in 2020.
Bishop Vann appointed Fr. Bao as administrator of St. Cecilia in July 2015 and as pastor in 2017.
Fr. Bao is on the board of the Orange Catholic Foundation and has served two terms on the Diocese’s Priest Personnel Board. He has also served as spiritual adviser for Magnificat and Viet Respect Life, and as chaplain for the Orange County chapter of the Knights of Columbus.
He was instrumental as an advisory board member for the July 2021 dedication of Christ Cathedral’s Our Lady of La Vang Shrine, a contemporary outdoor display devoted to the Virgin Mary as she is believed to have appeared before a group of Vietnamese Catholics in 1798.
Fr. Bao was born in Saigon, Vietnam, and moved to the U.S. with his family in 1993. Fr. Bao holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Saigon University, a bachelor’s in philosophy from Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon, and Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in spiritual theology from St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, Calif. He also holds a licentiate of sacred theology in spirituality from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the “Angelicum”) in Rome.
Fr. Bao is the fourth Vietnamese-American rector of a cathedral in the United States. He is fluent in Vietnamese and English, with good knowledge of Spanish and Italian.