By Mark Weber
FORT WAYNE — When 14-year-old (Andrew) Thu Pham fled Vietnam as a boat person, he had no idea that in the grand scheme of things, he was already under Providential protection and that his destiny called for immersion in two more cultures and life as a Catholic priest.
Twenty-seven years after that dangerous gamble for freedom, on Sunday, April 8, Father Thu was installed as pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Fort Wayne, once gold plated Irish, now harmoniously blended as Mexican-Americans, Vietnamese and Anglos. The packed congregation heard their new pastor address them in each of their native tongues.
Present for the installation ceremony was Father Thu’s mother, Sa Thi Vu, and his brothers Tuan and Thang, all of Richmond Hills, Ga.
Main celebrant of the Mass was Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, who was joined by Divine Word Missionaries Provincial Superior Father Mark Weber, Father Paul Bueter, Holy Cross Father Martin Lam Nguyen, and Society of Divine Word Father Jesus Briones.
In remarks delivered in Spanish and English on the joy of the occasion, Bishop Rhoades, referring to the miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus, reminded each person present of the Savior’s promise of personal resurrection and how the joy of that centerpiece of the faith is only two weeks away.
Perfect spring weather added to the pleasure of the occasion as those present enjoyed a reception with a variety of ethnic foods served.
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