Friday 24 June 2011
This evening, despite having been raised to new heights - at both ends - I still feel small in more ways than one. I feel small above all before the enormous task that lies ahead of me, the obligations that are part of the Episcopal ministry, the hopes and expectations that many invest in me.
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Yet in the midst of these uncertainties, I am at peace knowing that no one else is more responsible for me being a bishop than the One who called me from my mother's womb. I can offer a profound sense of gratitude to God who has guided me throughout the journey of life.
I offer my deep appreciation to his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for this appointment. I pledge to him my wholehearted loyalty and faithfulness as I endeavour to serve the Church that I love.
I am grateful to his Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto for his presence and support. I thank Cardinal George Pell for ordaining me a deacon, a priest and now a trifecta.
I thank the principal consecrator Archbishop Denis Hart. Thank you for welcoming me into this great Archdiocese, for taking care of all my needs and for ensuring a smooth transition from Rome to Melbourne. I look forward to working under your leadership and guidance.
I thank all the bishops who are here to welcome me into the Episcopal order, in particular the auxiliary Bishops of Melbourne Les Tomlinson, Peter Elliott, Tim Costelloe and Bishop Christopher Prowse of Sale my old teacher at CTC and friend. Bishops in Australia came under the spotlight a lot lately. I hope to learn from you and walk the path of faithfulness and integrity.
I thank the civic leaders. In a way, I- a former refugee- stand before you as a testament to the fair go mentality that has shaped this great nation.
I thank my confreres the Conventual Franciscans in Australia, and in a special way, my Superior General Fr Marco Tasca, who has come here all the way from Rome. I can reassure them that I am still a friar at heart and I shall endeavour to imbue my new ministry with the Franciscan spirit.
I thank all my fellow priests and fellow religious who offer their prayer and support for me. I look forward to having you as companions on the journey here in Melbourne and beyond.
I thank my family, relatives and friends who are the enduring source of love and support for me. God knows where I would have finished if it were not for their unfailing love and persistent prayer.
I thank the Vietnamese Catholics of Melbourne and beyond. It has been remarked that we are the new Irish of the Catholic Church in Australia and in the Diaspora generally. In fact, we can draw inspiration from the people of the covenant during the exile. We bear witness to faith, hope and love, and fundamental human values in our adopted country of Australia.
I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge all those who worked so hard to organise this event, both on and off the scenes: the Masters of Ceremonies, the Cathedral staff, the choirs, the organist, the cantor, the servers and the ushers. I offer them all my gratitude.
Archbishop Denis told me that the Episcopal appointment is a quantum leap. I have taken many leaps of faith before, but perhaps none as profoundly life changing as this one. Nevertheless, I make bold to venture ahead, trusting in the sustaining power of God and the support of many. This is why I have chosen my motto as Duc in altum or put out into the deep.
31 years ago, I literally ventured out into the deep. In choosing this motto, I'd like to honour the memory of the millions of my people who suffered and died for the cause of faith, freedom and fundamental human values.
"Duc in altum" above all means for me a call to risk all for Christ. It was as if my whole life was a series of invitations to venture into the unknown. When the Church called me to be a bishop, I accepted it in the conviction that it was a call to venture into a new depth, a new way of giving myself.
Speaking of risks, I will need a lot of courage & prayers living in the western region. As my 6 year old nephew and a crazy Cats supporter puts it: "I forgive you for being a Swannie, because you live on Geelong Road". I hope I will find such generous acceptance from my own flock.
Duc in altum! A bishop must not be afraid to walk with his people in the new exodus to the fullness of life and love. It's the place we can only reach with unwavering conviction and undying love for Christ and his people. I humbly ask you to pray for me your newly ordained bishop and all bishops to walk this path with fidelity and perseverance.
Kinh thua toan the quy vi,
That la mot an hue toi khong the tuong tuong duoc khi duoc co ngay hom nay, truoc su cau nguyen, nang do va chia se cua cac DC, lm, tu si, quan khach dao doi va quy vi. Khong nhung co nhung nguoi than yeu quen biet, nhung co nhung nguoi chua tung biet toi da den day nhu la dau chi cua su hiep thong. Toi cho rang bien co lich su ngay hom nay khong phai la mot vinh du lon lao rieng cho toi ma con la cho tat ca nguoi Viet tai Uc, dac biet la nguoi Cong Giao. Boi le day la cong nhan va danh dau su hoi nhap va truong thanh cua chung ta trong Giao Hoi va xa hoi Uc. Chung ta den day bang nuoc mat, su dau kho va su chet choc; hoac nua la chung ta den day voi hay ban tay trang. Nhung Thien Chua da yeu thuong va diu dat chung ta nhu dan Ngai tuyen chon.
Khau hieu cua toi la "hay ra khoi". Khi chon khau hieu nay, toi muon nhan manh toi la nguoi Viet Nam ty nan da vuot biển de den nuoc Uc. Toi khong che day qua khu cua ca nhan, cua tap the nhung nguoi di tim tu do nhu toi, cung nhu cua lich su que huong va boi canh dat nuoc da dan den cuoc "ra khoi" bi tham, vi dai va vo tien khoang hau nay. Khi chon khau hieu nay, toi cung muon noi len nhu hy sinh, dau kho, nuoc mat va cai chet cua biet bao nhieu nan nhan. Toi cung muon chung ta o trong nuoc cung nhu ngoai nuoc cung nhau khai thong nhung tac nghen de dong song lich su duoc chay va lam tuoi mat phi nhieu dat Viet than yeu.
"Hay ra khoi" cung co mot y nghia sieu nhien doi voi toi do la loi moi goi dan than den quen minh. Co the noi cuoc doi cua toi la nhung chuoi ngay vang theo loi moi goi "hay ra khoi" mot cach lien li. Khi nhan nhiem vu moi Hoi Thanh trao pho, toi tham tin rang day cung la mot lan nua Thien Chua moi goi toi "hay ra khoi", nghia la hay hien than chinh minh.
Toi xin cam on moi nguoi da den day de chia se niem vui va cau nguyen cho toi. Con xin chan thanh cam on DC Hoang Tien Dat dai dien HDGMVN, DC Nguyen Manh Hieu tu Canada, Cha Bo Vu Thanh, cac linh muc, tu si va anh chi em thuoc nhieu cong doan tren toan quoc. Toi xin ghi nhan su hien dien cua dai dien cac ton giao ban. Dac biet, toi cam on nhung nguoi da gop cong gop suc cho Ngay Le duoc tot dep, nhat la cac Ca Doan Melbourne da kho cong tap luyen va thuc hien that xuat sac. Con xin cam on bo me gia da suat cuoc doi hy sinh cho con. Con nghi rang con co ngay hom nay cung vi doi song duc hanh va nhat la su hy sinh va loi cau nguyen lien ly cua bo me. Xin cam on ma thieng lieng nhu la ba me thu hai cua con, nhat la trong nhung nam thang con khong co than nhan o ben Uc. Xin cam cac anh chi em tu Hoa Lan va VN, cac em cac chau tu Sydney, than nhan bang huu tu trong nuoc va ngoai nuoc. Xin Chua chuc lanh cho moi nguoi da den day vi thuong toi.
Xin quy vi tiep tuc cau nguyen de toi tro thanh mot vi muc tu theo tinh than don so, khiem ha va hien than het minh nhu Cha Thanh Phanxico.