Suva, Fiji, 9 December 2022 -- History was made when Deacon Peter Nguyen Minh Duc was ordained priest on Sunday, 4 December 2022. He was the first Salesian missionary from Vietnam to be ordained in Fiji and, a week earlier, to graduate from the Pacific Regional Seminary with distinction. Fr. Minh Duc’s ordination was also the first to take place in our newly established Parish of Saint John Bosco (Nakasi).
Father Peter Minh Duc was ordained by His Grace Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Fiji in the presence of Fr. William Matthews (Provincial of the Australia-Pacific Province), fellow priests, religious, friends, the parishioners and many young people.
In his homily, the Archbishop encouraged and thanked Fr. Minh Duc’s family, confreres and many friends for journeying with him. He also shared reflections on the calling of all the baptised to become a synodal church and what it means for a newly ordained priest to be a pastor in a synodal church - to listen with the heart and accompany God’s people especially the young.
The Liturgy was enriched by the energetic and joyful parish youth choir under the direction of Fr. Tuia Afoa (SDB). Many hearts were touched and surprised by the prayerful singing of the Offertory Hymn, “Dâng niềm cảm mến” (Phanxicô). Mr. Thuần and his wife Mrs. Châu, relative of Father Kích (SDB) together with Br. Nguyen Anh Vu and Br. Le Ngoc Truong represented Fr. Minh Duc’s family and confreres in Vietnam. And the family of Mr Hà represented the Vietnamese community in Fiji.
Father Minh Duc Nguyen gave his word of thanks to the Congregation, the parish, his community, the Vietnamese community, and also his family back home. “I cannot thank you (parishioners) enough for all that you have done for me. My family is watching at this moment from Vietnam via Livestream. They are not here physically but their love and support are always with me. My family is small, but here in Fiji, I have found a home away from home. Bigger family than mine in Vietnam. People with great help and I am willing to return that with my ministry”. Many, especially the young, came to the newly ordained Father Minh Duc to receive his blessing after the Ordination and First Mass (Monday, 5 December 2022).
This indeed was “the day made by the Lord” to be a celebration of joy as family and Fr. Minh Duc presented with the most precious gift in the Fijian tradition, the “tabua” during the kava ceremony.
This was a day of special day of gratitude to God, to the Salesian Congregation, to the family, friends and confreres in Vietnam, Australia and the Pacific, all who were part of Fr. Minh’s Duc’s journey to the altar of the Lord.
Father Peter Minh Duc, God bless you in your ministry as priest after the Lord’s own heart.