THE first Vietnamese-born member of the Augustinains’ Australian province was ordained a deacon in Brisbane last weekend.
Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Oudeman of Bris-bane ordained Peter Minh-Tan Hoang at St James’ Church, Coorparoo, on August 29.
Deacon Tan came to Australia as a refugee at a young age and was later reunited with his family.
He attended a Catholic high school in Wollongong, NSW, went on to study nursing and was actively involved in Vietnamese Church activities in Sydney.
He recently returned from three years’ study in Rome.
He said many of his NSW-based family and friends travelled to Brisbane for the ordination Mass that was concelebrated by Augustinian priests from Brisbane and NSW.
“My parents, siblings, their children, grandmother and aunts and uncles all came up. There were around 40 to 50 of them,” he said.
“Also many of my friends from Sydney came, including Fr Liem (Duong), an assistant priest in Cabramatta, and my friend Jesus Sanchez who I studied with in Rome.”
Deacon Tan said there were several highlights during his ordination ceremony.
“One of the highlights for me was the laying on of hands,” he said.
“I was very nervous and I had to place my hands, that were shaking, in Bishop Joseph’s hands and his hands gave mine a slight squeeze and I was suddenly at peace.”
The new deacon will spend the next 12 months in a shared ministry between St James’ Parish, Coorparoo, which is run by the Augustinians, and Villanova College, an Augustinian school.
“We will spend this week working out the schedule but I started at the college on August 31 and my weekends will definitely be in the parish.”