By Emilie Ng
CAPUCHIN Father Lam Vu left Brisbane to join the seminary 15 years ago but this week returned to take up the position as the new parish priest of St Mary’s South Brisbane and administrator of Dutton Park-West End.
Fr Vu started his role last Wednesday, July 7.
“This is my first time serving in Brisbane as a priest, and I am excited to be back after 15 years,” Fr Vu said.
Fr Vu replaces former parish priest and administrator Capuchin Father Fernanto Pananghat, who will remain as guardian of Assumption Friary in Dutton Park.
Born in Vietnam in 1971, Fr Vu and his family moved to Inala on Brisbane’s south-west when he was eight years old.
He is the second-youngest of nine children.
All but one brother, a missionary priest in Taiwan, still live in Brisbane.
When Fr Vu told his mother he would be returning, she said it was “the best news”.
Fr Vu completed his primary education at Darra-Jindalee Catholic primary school (now Our Lady of the Sacred Heart), and attended three state schools in Inala, Oxley and Indooroopilly.
He completed a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Queensland and worked for three years in an architectural firm in Tweed Heads and in Brisbane.
Fr Vu was struck by the impact of poverty after a moving trip to his home country Vietnam in 1996.
After a few years of serious prayer and discernment about God’s will for his life, Fr Vu entered the seminary in 1999, inspired by his brother’s decision to join a religious congregation.
Capuchin Bishop Joseph Oudeman ordained Fr Vu on April 12, 2008, at his home parish of St Mark’s, Inala.
Fr Vu returned to his primary school at Darra-Jindalee to celebrate Mass for the school community.
This is Fr Vu’s first appointment as a parish priest since being ordained, having worked mainly with young people and university chaplaincy in Melbourne and Sydney.
While Fr Vu said parish work would be “a learning curve” he was excited about this new challenge.
After he settles into his new parish, he still hoped to continue doing some work with young people.
“It’s part of my nature, but my main priority is with the parish,” Fr Vu said.