It is with great sadness and heavy heart that I am saying goodbye to you over this weekend. Even though I will not leave here until December 28th, but as many of you will go away for holidays and the like, so we planned to have this farewell a bit early.
As I am looking back and reflecting on my time here – just around a year – I feel grateful and blessed with your presence, support and love for me over this short time. It has been a great joy being with you and serving you in my role of a deacon and now of a priest.
About three years ago, after taking my perpetual vows as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart, I went back to my home church with my Vietnamese community in Mt Pritchard, where I was ordained a priest recently. I remember the Gospel of that mass three years ago was the same Gospel we have this weekend: The people of Israel came and asked John the Baptist, “What must we do?” That question haunted me as I was sitting there, on the sanctuary as a brother, looking at the faces of so many of my Vietnamese people. “What must I do in order to serve these people better?” I questioned myself at that time.
Until now, I still question myself: “What must I do in order to serve you all better, as your priest and your brother?”
As I am leaving my first parish in my priestly ministry, I ask your forgiveness for the things I have not done well in my pastoral ministry and responsibility. For the things you have found graceful through what I have done, let us give thanks to our graceful and loving God.
I love what Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said: “I am a little pencil in God’s hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil and He has to sharpen it a little more.” I know that I am a mere broken pencil that God has endeavored so hard to make use of – but this is simply God’s joy, loving us, caring for us, and using us for others.
Please continue to support me in your prayers as I move to my next mission in Melbourne. I will also keep you very much in my heart with loving memories and kindness you have shown me.
Every blessing for your holidays, safe travel, and much love to you all.
Fr Khoi Nguyen msc