Farewell to OLR from Sang
Advent marks the opening of a new liturgical year. This season is when we long for and meditate on the Word made flesh. However, this is the time for me, Sang Duc Bui, to say goodbye to the Our Lady of the Rosary parish after nearly a full year of living with a family where spirit and emotion are abundant. Saying farewell is always difficult for me. This is especially true now because I feel Caloundra is like my loving home. In this parish, I felt supported in my priestly journey.
When I arrived here, Fr Josh, Fr Francis, Fr Ejikeme, Fr Joseph, and later Fr Gerard welcomed me and shared a lot about priestly life and the work they undertake. Fr Josh supported me to understand a lot about the priesthood and pastoral work. He helped me explore more about priestly life and about the faith culture of believers. He also encouraged me to reflect on a vision for the future Church. After living with these priests and through my practical learnings I feel much more confident in my priestly vocation. With them, during times of uncertainty, I communicated my worries and thoughts about the Church’s direction. They listened when I expressed some of my personal ups and downs throughout the year. I really appreciate these priests who have helped me stay strong as I follow Christ’s steps.
Thank you to Bishop Brian Heenan, Fr Tyrone, Fr Ashley, Fr Dudley, Fr Tijo, Fr Isaac, Fr Peter, Fr Will, and many others who helped me see the joy of my vocation even during busy times. I appreciate the camaraderie we shared when we gathered for Sunday lunches.
I also thank my Lay Feedback Team: Bruce, Don, Cathy and Dawn who accompanied, supported and walked with me as I journeyed on formation to the priesthood.
I thank the parish staff – Vicki, Edgar, and many other parishioners for helping me understand more about the work of a large parish. I am also grateful to all the Parish Volunteers and Parish Leaders. May God bless you in the good work that God is leading you to do.
The staff at Our Lady of the Rosary School – the principal, staff members, and students, especially Year 3 students, also deserve my thanks. You helped me feel more joy in life. I enjoyed sharing and talking with you all in your classes and on the soccer field. You assisted me to be confident about my vocation and future priestly ministry.
To the young people at Unity College, especially Felicity and the Young Adults group, who helped me understand more about the thoughts of young people in today’s world, thank you. I hope you have a wonderful life and know how to run to Jesus and talk to Him. I also thank the Caloundra Soccer and Baringa Soccer Teams, even though we didn’t win many matches. You guys helped me make more friends and appreciate how to live life here.
Finally, I thank everyone from the eight communities including the Women’s Group, St Vinnies and others, and every person I met at Mass or visited. You are all like close family to me and you have touched my heart and given me strong motivation in this priestly vocation.
After Christmas, I hope to visit my family in Vietnam and then return to the seminary at Banyo in 2024 to finish my final year of studies. With joy and hope in God’s grace, I hope I will see you one day again, especially on the day of my ordination as Deacon and Priest. Please continue to support and pray for my vocational journey. I will always remember you in my prayers.
Thanks be to God and thank you everyone so much.
My last day of Pastoral Placement will be on Christmas Day, so over the next 4 weeks, I hope to visit all the worshipping communities one last time.
Happy Christmas and God bless you.
Sang Duc Bui