After completing higher studies in Rome, he returned to Vietnam in 1949 to teach dogmatic theology at Tuong Kiem Seminary. Later, he worked in Saigon caring for refugees from the north.
After the Communists came to power, Thu was expelled from his country in 1976. Pope Paul VI received him in Rome and entrusted him with work in the State Secretariat. In 1987 he was appointed postulator of the cause of canonization of 117 Vietnamese martyrs.
On Jan. 7, 1988, John Paul II called him to be his private secretary, to work along with then Monsignor Stanislaw Dziwisz. The former worked seven years in his post.
Monsignor Thu’s funeral Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica will be presided over by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.