June 9, 2024

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

With great joy, I share the extraordinary news from our parish. Last Saturday, June 1, transitional Deacon Randy Nguyen, a cherished son of our parish and my spiritual son, was ordained a priest by Bishop Robert Brennan at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral in Brooklyn. The following day, Father Randy celebrated his First Mass of Thanksgiving at our parish. The Mass was a beautiful and deeply moving ceremony, followed by an uplifting celebration. It was a day filled with grace and joy. My heartfelt thanks go to all who contributed to the event. As Bishop Ray Chappetto and Bishop Paul Sanchez have observed, our parish truly shines when we unite in faith and love.

I am thrilled to announce that Father Randy has been assigned to St. Patrick’s Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn for five years. We were honored to have his new pastor, Father Brian P. Dowd; our former pastor Msgr. Sean G. Ogle; and about forty priests concelebrating at his Mass of Thanksgiving. We wish Father Dowd and the St. Patrick’s Church community abundant blessings as they welcome Father Randy into their parish family. Rest assured, Father Randy will visit us whenever possible, so we may continue to benefit from his presence and ministry.

In addition, I am overjoyed to share that another spiritual son of mine, Joseph Cong Le, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, also last Saturday. I have supported Father Joseph’s vocation since his seminary days at St. John’s University in Queens. This past weekend was uniquely special for me, seeing two of my spiritual sons ordained as priests. Although I could not attend Father Joseph’s Ordination and First Mass in Raleigh, I have promised to make it up by joining him for another Mass of Thanksgiving this weekend in his Diocese.

Moreover, a dear friend of our parish, JV Vien Nguyen, was also ordained a priest in the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, on the same day and time as Fathers Randy and Joseph. Father JV has served our parish for two summers as a seminarian and has been an active and beloved presence, particularly among our daily Mass attendees and youth. He is now assigned to St. Catherine of Sienna’s parish in Reading, Pennsylvania. God willing, Father JV will return to visit us, allowing us to congratulate him in person.

These joyous events signify a springtime in the Church concerning priestly vocations. While many of these new priests come from Vietnam and other countries, they embody the rich diversity of our American Church. Please keep all our new priests in your prayers.

I am excited to share that I will be traveling to Vietnam for three weeks, starting next week. This trip will allow me to visit my own spiritual father in Saigon, the priest who inspired my vocation. Additionally, I will accompany our newly ordained priests as they return to celebrate their Masses of Thanksgiving with their families, most of whom could not attend their ordination here.

Entering my fourth year as your pastor, I hope you recognize how deeply priestly and religious vocations matter to me. As St. John Paul II declared, “Without priests, there would be no Eucharist!” One of the most fulfilling aspects of my ministry has been cultivating a “culture of vocation” in our parish across all ethnic communities. I dream of sending more young men into the seminary to ensure a bright future for our Church. I cannot accomplish this alone; I need everyone to join me in this crucial task.

Until we meet again in three weeks, know that you will be in my prayers, especially at the tombs of the Vietnamese Martyrs in North Vietnam, where four of my ancestors witnessed to Christ unto death, seeding a strong Catholic faith in my native land.

Peace in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham