Address given by Archbishop Denis Hart at the farewell Mass for Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Tonight we come to farewell a bishop, a brother, a leader in the work of the Gospel. This farewell is particularly poignant because after arriving in Australia by boat in challenging circumstances, redolent of so many migrants who were fleeing violence and terror, Bishop Vincent has made Melbourne his home since 1980.

Three years later he joined the Conventual Franciscans and was ordained by the then Bishop Pell at Springvale on 30th December 1989. After time, first as Assistant in Springvale, then Parish Priest of Kellyville in Parramatta, his new Diocese, he was Parish Priest of Springvale and subsequently Leader of the Conventuals in Australia, a member of the General Council in Rome, until he was made Auxiliary Bishop in May 2011.

The last five years have been for him and for us a remarkable story. It demonstrates what so many of us Catholics in Melbourne have to share so richly; we come from all over the world, we are nurtured with the faith that comes from the Apostles and we share the hope that no darkness can blot out.

Bishop Vincent has worked tirelessly, visiting and encouraging and reaching out to those who have lost faith, in the Western region and throughout the Archdiocese. He has had a strong involvement in the social welfare of the Church and as Chair of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria.

I know Bishop Vincent as a man of honesty and total integrity. He will lead Parramatta with courage and devotion, always focussed on Jesus Christ.

Bishop Vincent, I thank you personally for your understanding, loyalty and friendship. I thank your mother and your family for their support and gift of you to the Church. I thank the people of our parishes and the Vietnamese community for their love and encouragement.

Today is a moment of recognition of the gifts which Bishop Vincent has carried so humbly and which he brings with him to the tremendous task of leading the youngest and biggest non-metropolitan Diocese in the country.

Vincent, I hope that you will leave a part of you in Melbourne. I know we will be richer because of your presence and courage, poorer and a little sadder because of your departure, yet filled with hope for what God will achieve through you in the Church.

For each of us, dear brothers and sisters, the call of God is a mystery and an invitation. Bishop Vincent’s responding to the various calls in his life challenges every one of us here in the Cathedral to say ‘yes’ to God in what he invites and to know that he never gives an invitation without providing the means by which we can respond.

Bishop Vincent we salute you as a successor of the apostles and a brother bishop; we wish you many years as the leader of Parramatta and we thank you for your kindness, your courage and your devoted leadership of our people. May the Lord be with you always.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.
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