On Saturday 5th December at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Deacnos Do Nguyen, Tien Cao and Thanh Tran were ordained to priesthood.
The church was full with family from Vietnam, others who had travelled from Australia and throughout New Zealand and of course priests and parishioners from across the Diocese to celebrate this occasion.
In attendance was Bishop Vien, Auxillary Bishop of Vinh Diocese, Vietnam.
The ordination of these three men was after seven and a half years since their arrival in New Zealand, firstly learning English and then formation at Holy Cross Seminary.
With Bishop Barry Jones unwell, Bishop Basil Meeking was the ordaining Bishop.
Bishop Meeking in his homily said that “The sacrament of Holy Orders which Deacon Do and Deacon Tien and Deacon Thanh are about to receive will shape them inwardly so that they can make present Christ the Priest. Ordination will transform them by a special grace of the Holy Spirit so that they can serve as Christ’s sacramental instruments in and for his Church, so that they can be unique and effective signs of his presence. The priesthood is not just a job a man takes on; it is what he becomes in his being, in his deepest reality. So the priest must be always thinking: ‘All that I do, all that I am, I am doing with Christ. All my activities, no matter how varied constitute only one vocation – to be together with Christ, acting as his instrument, in communion with him.’ The priest is indeed the minister, the servant of the community, the parish where he is appointed, but that is only because he is first the minister, the servant of Christ the Priest. That means the priesthood of the Catholic Church has a divine origin, it is a divine function….So the priest who is true to his calling will not live by the world’s standards; he will not have a secular life style. The priest is ordained for the world but he cannot be of the world….. Our diocese of Christchurch, our whole world, needs holy priests, priests who are faithful to their total consecration to God and totally committed to the spiritual wellbeing of their people. That is expressed in the celibacy of the priest; celibacy, faithfully observed, demonstrates the only objective to the priest – to do God’s will, to carry out God’s work and to do so with limitless pastoral charity. So the priest is to show the richness of God’s love for his people by bringing to his ministry the joy of an undivided hear. Every priest is chosen by the loving kindness of God who calls him to a life of total, generous dedication to God’s love”.
And in addressing the deacons, “… Dear Deacon Do, dear Deacon Tien, dear Deacon Thanh, for such a ministry you have to be men of faith. Jesus continues to address his word of salvation especially through the mouth of his priests. You have to be men of integral faith so that in hearing you, everyone can recognise, without ambiguity or compromise, the Word of God as it is given to the Church in the Scriptures and in the Catholic Tradition of faith…. Today you enter into a new and transforming relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ that is symbolised as you are clothed in the liturgical vestments of a priest. That is much more than an old custom. Those vestments will signify that you have put on Christ. From this time forward as you celebrate the Mass and the sacraments, faithfully putting on the vestments is like saying “yes” to what priesthood demands of you. ”