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Son of Vietnam becomes deacon for Broken Bay

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Deacon Hien Vu with Bishop Anthony Randazzo. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Deacon Hien Vu with Bishop Anthony Randazzo. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Just three days after his 35th birthday, Hien Vu was ordained to the Order of Deacons by the Bishop of Broken Bay, Anthony Randazzo, in a packed St Leonard’s Church, Naremburn on 25 November.

The ordination was held on the Memorial of the Martyrs of Vietnam, commemorating those who faced persecution, torture and death in Vietnam during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, a day that served as an inspiration to the Vietnamese-born Hien.

While many of his family were unable to attend the ordination in person, they were all tuned into the livestream of the event, with the churches of Broken Bay and Vietnam connected in celebration.

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“The church of Broken Bay today greets the church in Vietnam, which, although geographically distant, is close to our hearts,” the bishop said, addressing the more than 200 parishioners gathered at St Leonards’.

“In the community of the church, neither the physical distance, nor cultural diversity separate us, because our unity comes from being one in Christ.

“It is here, at this moment, that we are profoundly and particularly close, because it its Christ that calls us into community.”

Bishop Randazzo said it was a wonderful time in history to be called to the ordained ministry—but not one for the faint hearted.

“Without a doubt, the mandate to participate in the communion and mission of Jesus Christ is not for the faint-hearted,” he said.

“Your ministry as a deacon will primarily be outward-looking. It will be characterised by your deep desire to preach the word of God by a life of holiness, service and prayer.

“As a man of virtue, you will offer you love, not to a wife and children, but as a sing of pastoral charity to the community of the church.

“Your life of chaste celibacy will allow you the freedom to cling to Christ as you live the Christian faith.

“With an undivided heart, you will accompany others who seek the truth of the gospel.

“As deacon, you will listen attentively to the needs of the people, announcing them in the midst of the assembly, so that the entire community of the church will be united in the communion of prayer.”

Following his homily, Bishop Randazzo laid hands upon Hien, gifting him the sacrament of Holy Orders and ordaining him to the Order of Deacons.

After this, Hien was vested with the stole and dalmatic, marking him as a deacon of the church, before he accompanied Bishop Randazzo to the altar, to assist with preparing the offering of bread and wine for the first time.

Adding to the beauty of the Mass were three separate choirs, each reflecting an important part of Hien’s life and ministry.

The Lower North Shore Parish Choir, Hien’s home parish, was accompanied by the schola from the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, where Hien spent the past seven years of his life.

A Vietnamese choir also sung hymns in Vietnamese, as Hien took his place at the altar.

The Mass was concelebrated by dozens of priests from across Broken Bay and beyond, including Hien’s formators, Fr Michael de Stoop and Fr Paul Durkin, rector and vice-rector, respectively, at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd.

Hien’s ordination came 10 years after the ordination of Fr Vincent Nguyen, who was the first Vietnamese-born priest to be ordained in the diocese.

It was eleventh time Bishop Randazzo had ordained someone to the diaconate, and the fifth time he had done so in Broken Bay.

Hien’s ordination was the culmination of an incredible journey, which began with his childhood in rural Vietnam.

Hien was born in 1988 in the town of Thong Nhat in the Province of Dong Nai, Vietnam. He is one of eight children.

Following his secondary education, he graduated with a Bachelor in Business Finance from the College of Foreign Economic Relations and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Foreign Trade in Ho Chi Minh City.

He worked for several years in accountancy before joining the seminary of the Diocese of Xuan Loc in August 2013.

In 2016, he was welcomed into the Diocese of Broken Bay and was received into the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Homebush as a student for the Diocese. He was instituted as a lector in 2018 and acolyte in 2019.

Hien will serve the Diocese of Broken Bay as a deacon for the next year before hopefully taking the final step in his vocational journey, when he is ordained a priest.

“May I ask everyone to pray with me and help me to be a good, holy and faithful deacon,” Hien said as everyone gathered in the church hall to celebrate his special day.

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