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The Sisters of St Joseph are celebrating
their sesquicentenary this year and will
commence their celebrations next month in
Penola, the place where St Mary MacKillop
and Father Julian Tenison Woods founded
the Order on March 19 1866.
Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, Bishop
of Port Pirie Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ,
Josephite Congregational Leader
Sr Monica Cavanagh and 75 Sisters from
around Australia, New Zealand and Peru
will attend the Penola weekend.
The celebrations will begin with an open
air Mass at Mary MacKillop Stable School
Park at 10.30am on Saturday March 19,
followed by a light lunch in the school hall
and the opening and blessing of Cameron
Home, adjacent to Mary MacKillop
Interpretive Centre. There will also be
an unveiling of a new Mary MacKillop
On Sunday March 20 there will be an
opening and blessing of the new porch at
St Joseph’s Church at 11.30am, following
the 10.30am Palm Sunday Mass. Three
155-year-old stained glass windows from
the first St Joseph’s Church built by Father
Tenison Woods in Penola have been
restored and form part of an $80,000 porch
redevelopment of St Joseph’s Church
which sits on the site of the original church
commissioned and opened by Father
Julian Tenison Woods on April 24, 1859.
Following the national 150th festivities in
Penola, each region will hold their own
celebrations throughout the year.
The major event for Adelaide will be
celebrated on the feast of the Sacred Heart
on June 2 and 4 at Norwood-Kensington
and in Port Augusta on August 8, the feast
of St Mary MacKillop.
For catering purposes, RSVP by February
19 to email@example.com
A former Vietnamese Air Force helicopter
pilot forced to flee the Communist regime
will reach his final destination in February
at the altar of St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral
where he will be ordained a priest.
“I’ve been waiting for this for quite a long
time,” said Deacon Long Hai Nguyen.
Escaping war, resettling in Australia and
sponsoring his family’s reunification meant
his childhood dream of becoming a priest
was put on hold for more than 42 years.
On February 6, however, Archbishop
Philip Wilson will finally lay his hands and
invoke the Holy Spirit on Deacon Long Hai
(also known as Joseph) during the Rite of
“For me, it will be a wonderful day, and for
my family, and my mum,” he said. “Even
though Mum is no longer here, she will be
praying for me. I think on that day I will feel
my desire finally fulfilled.”
Long Hai was ordained a deacon in
September 2012 and has been working at
Croydon Park parish since then.
“To work as a deacon; to be involved in
the parish life and meet so many different
people from many different backgrounds,
is what I enjoy very, very much,” he said.
His connection with Croydon Park parish
goes back to his arrival in Adelaide in
He was in his late 20s at the time and
migrated from a Malaysian refugee camp
with his brothers John and Phuong.
The three brothers, along with 70 others,
fled Vietnam by boat. They were adrift for a
week before reaching an oil rig.
Deacon Long Hai said he could not remain
in Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975
because he had trained as a helicopter
pilot in the United States for the South
He attempted to flee twice. The first time,
he was caught by authorities and spent
one week in jail. The second time he was
imprisoned for six months with hard labour.
It took him five years to escape.
“I went through many other struggles but I
always felt that the providence of God was
with me and the guidance of the Holy Spirit
was with me.”
When Long Hai arrived in Adelaide, he
began looking for work to support his
parents and his siblings left behind in
Vietnam and to eventually enable their
migration to Australia.
He worked for more than 20 years at the
Simpson washing machine factory. His
parents joined him in Adelaide in 1989 and
his mother died here in 2013. He has six
brothers, two sisters and 14 nephews and
In 2012 Long Hai completed a degree in
theology and began the ministry formation
program to become a deacon.
His desire to become a priest first became
clear at 12 when he was an altar server. “I
loved the sacred space of the church,” he
“I always came to church about 15 minutes
before Mass; it was quiet and I would see
the nuns pray and bring the flowers into
the sanctuary,” he said. “I would see the
priest as very holy and at that time I was
thinking about my vocation.”
When he told his mother that he wanted to
be a priest she told him “to always pray to
God and your desire will be fulfilled”.
His Thanksgiving Mass will be held at
St Mary Margaret’s Church on February 7.
ALL IN GOOD TIME: Deacon Long Hai Nguyen at St Mary Margaret’s Church where he will say his first Mass as a priest later
By Rebecca DiGirolamo
to the altar
TUESDAY 8 MARCH 5.30-7.30PM
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to discover how we can support your son on his personal, spiritual and
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Visit bps.sa .edu.au to register.
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Penola celebrates Sisters’ 150 year anniversary
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