It has been one week since Pope Francis announced Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, 54, as the fourth Bishop of Parramatta.
Having ministered as a Conventual Franciscan priest in Australia since 1989 and as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne since 2011, Bishop Vincent said he was humbled and excited about the prospect of serving the people of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
After his ordination to the priesthood on 30 December 1989, Bishop Vincent went to Rome for further studies and was awarded a licentiate in Christology and Spirituality from the Pontifical Faculty of St Bonaventure.
“I spent about seven years in the Diocese of Parramatta as an assistant priest and then as Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish. I left Kellyville in 2002, which is now in the burgeoning part of the Diocese,” Bishop Vincent said.
“Even though it has been 15 years, I have fond memories of my first parish in Kellyville and I hope with that knowledge and that familiarity, I can start to work to minister as Bishop in the Diocese.”
The Provincial Delegate of the Franciscan Friars at Kellyville, Br Joseph Wood OFM Conv, said they were “very happy” about the appointment of their brother, Bishop Vincent.
“Bishop Vincent’s Franciscan brothers wish him and the Diocese of Parramatta every happiness and fraternal support in this new beginning together,” Br Joseph said.
“Naturally, we are also very grateful to the Diocesan Administrator, Fr Peter Williams, for holding everything together after the transfer of Bishop Fisher.”
The appointment of a Vietnamese migrant and refugee as Bishop of the Diocese was welcomed by Fr Henry Huu Duc Tran, priest in charge of the Vietnamese Chaplaincy of the Diocese of Parramatta.
“I consider myself as privileged to know Bishop Vincent from way back in his student days to his more senior positions both in the Diocese and elsewhere,” Fr Henry said.
“From a cultural perspective, I am proud of him, and the Vietnamese Catholic communities both here and beyond are proud of him too for such an Apostolic role entrusted to him. But at the same time, we know fully well that he, as a bishop, must belong to every group, every community, every culture and background in the Diocese.
“We have to make sure that Bishop Vincent enjoys the total support from the whole Vietnamese Catholic community to fulfil a bigger role as bishop of all people across this beloved Diocese.”
Many from the Archdiocese of Melbourne have also voiced their best wishes for the new Bishop.
Collin Nunis and his wife, Agnieszka Kosidio-Nunis, first met Bishop Vincent (and each other) at a youth event in Melbourne in early 2012.
“From the first time we encountered Bishop Vincent, we found him to be approachable, accommodating, and helpful,” they said. “However, behind his Franciscan simplicity was a giant of a man, and behind his being a bishop was a father looking out for his children.
“His demeanour and especially his determination to look out for ‘the least of my brethren’ (asylum seekers and refugees) will be sorely missed. Melbourne’s loss is Parramatta’s gain.”
Bishop Vincent’s motto is: “Launch into the deep.”
“I have been cast into the deep interior of Western Sydney and it’s a new challenge for me but I know that the challenge will train me to hopefully be a better pastor for you,” he said.
“God has his own ways of intervening in our lives and certainly this appointment is something that I did not expect but I am very grateful to God for leading me to the Diocese of Parramatta.
“Do pray for me as I endeavour to carry out the mission that has been entrusted to me and I hope to do so in collaboration with you and the clergy of Parramatta.”
Read more about Fr Henry Huu Duc Tran here