Sunday 23 June 2013

Chuyen's ordination

Chuyen and his father

The blessings

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Tim Ploch drove me up from Provincial House, San Francisco, to St Luke's Parish, Stockton, for Chuyen's ordination which began punctually at 1000 hrs. A very large number of people - relatives, friends, and Salesians, Family and youth from all over the province - in a church that looks small from the outside, but is really quite capacious. Bishop Stephen Blaire ordained Chuyen, giving a very beautiful homily. Chuyen prostrating on the bare floor, and stumbling over the First Eucharistic prayer (he prayed twice for the pope and for the ordaining bishop, thinking that the N.N. meant the prayer for the dead) much to my liturgical and formative embarrassment. But still, a very beautiful liturgy, extraordinary singing in English and in Vietnamese, and a very recollected and edifying ordination candidate. A few thanksgiving speeches after the final prayer, and then lunch for all in the adjacent gym, once again so apparently small and yet so capacious within. No further ado, really - neither speeches nor songs nor even an attempt to entertain. The newly ordained had a huge line in the gym queuing up for his blessing, and he took his time doing that. He was the last to eat, and was probably so hungry that he ate in his priestly vestments, with his father sitting by.

A staunchly pious Catholic family that has given not one but two sons to the Salesians. Both the bishop and the provincial were warm in their appreciation for the contributions of the Vietnamese community to the Catholic church in the country.


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