Dear parishioners and friends in Christ,
I have just set foot in our parish a few days ago to begin my pastoral ministry in your midst. Leaving a familiar environment to start a new life is always a challenge for all of us. In a sense, I have many things to learn: new faces, new names, a new way of doing church business and to get to know you. … And you to get to know me as well.
As an icebreaker, I think I should drop some lines to let you know a little bit about myself. I was born February 12, 1958 in South Vietnam. I entered Minor Seminary before the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. When the American Troops withdrew from Vietnam, the North Vietnamese Communists took over the South and confiscated my seminary, causing me to return to my hometown and to work as a farmer for Seven Years, before my escape with 22 other refugees in a small wooden fishing boat. My compatriots and I were rescued by an American cargo ship after being lost on the high sea for nine days (due to a typhoon).
After spending a year in the Philippine refugee camp, I came to the United States in 1984 and immediately went to work as a baker for Kroger grocery store in Fayetteville, NC. I joined the Diocese of Raleigh and was sent to St. Joseph’s Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana, where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in 1988. Following my Internship Year (1999) at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (Roanoke Rapids, NC) I entered the Mundelein Seminary (Chicago, Illinois) and obtained my Master of Divinity Degree in 1994. In that same year, I was ordained by Bishop Gossman at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church (Southern Pines, NC).
After my priestly ordination and before coming to our parish a few days ago:
1994-1996 Parochial Vicar, St. Mary’s Parish, in Wilmington, NC
1997 Parochial Vicar, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Raleigh, NC
1998-2002 Pastor, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Raleigh, NC
2003-2010 Pastor, Good Shepard Parish, Hope Mills, NC
2011-2019 Pastor, St. Matthew Parrish, Durham, NC
I am very easy going, humble and eager to meet all of you. We can work together and help each other come closer to God and make a difference in his kingdom on this side of the earth.