Ordination to the Priesthood of Rev Linh Tran
Celebrated by Archbishop Denis Hart
at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne,
on Saturday, 24th November, 2001, at 10.00am
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we are united with Linh Tran, our family member, brother and friend, who will be ordained to the priesthood in the Catholic Church for the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
This is a day of rejoicing, one on which the faithfulness and generous and eager service of Linh will be adorned with priestly gifts; to sanctify, teach and gather God’s people.
Truly in the words of Pope John Paul II, Linh has been called to contemplate Christ, to grow in the way of holiness and then to launch out into the deep of bringing other souls to know and love God.
Linh has known the encouragement to pray given by his own parents, the love of the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, which has sustained him in times when religious practice in Vietnam was restricted, and so with joy he comes forward for ordination.
As we prepare our hearts to celebrate this great Sacrament, rejoicing as God’s holy people in the Church of Melbourne, let us call to mind our sins.
My dear Brothers and Sisters,
I rejoice that so many of us are here in the Cathedral with Linh Tran for his ordination. Since 1995 we have known him as a sincere, articulate and gifted student of our Seminary. Members of the parish of St Monica’s, Moonee Ponds, and the Vietnamese community have learned to esteem him. I am privileged to have had him read the Gospel on the night of my reception as Archbishop of Melbourne.
I wish to thank his parents, Ho and Trong, for the obvious faith, which they have given him. He is the seventh of their nine children and spent the first fourteen years of his life in Nha Trang, Vietnam, loved, protected and supported by family and friends.
In 1986 he fled Vietnam in a journey on a fishing boat, which detached him from the support and protection of his family. He knew the hardship and the experience of helplessness of human life at sea and that enabled him to trust and rely on the love of God. Linh himself says that his journey to find freedom and hope for a better future at the risk of danger and death at sea became a journey of faith. He himself mentions that the Catholic faith, which he had been taught by his parents, then began to become his own.
In 1987 he spent a year living in a refugee camp in the Philippines and arrived in Melbourne where he studied at Braybrook Secondary College and acquired a Bachelor of Education Science at Melbourne University. Linh’s words about life in a strange country remind us of the consolation which he and we are challenged to find in prayer and in the Sunday Eucharist.
Those who have learned English as a second language will empathise with his description of learning English as having to strive for the impossible with meaning and purpose.
Linh wishes to share his faith as a priest and to serve God’s people. Faith gives him hope in life and the gift of priesthood is an enrichment in his own life given for others. Linh treasures his own humble experience of migration and his time as a refugee and hopes in future to be involved in the task of evangelisation and teaching the Gospel to those who, like him, have come to Australia.
We revere his remarkable story as we reflect on the gift of priesthood, which he is to receive and which reminds us of the importance of priests to all the people of our Church.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.