Take 5 with Father: Teach, Love, Serve
HE IS: Father Vinh Van Vu, CRM, pastor of Vietnamese Martyrs Parish in Arlington since 2015. He has also served at parishes in Amarillo and Port Arthur, Texas.
TAKING VOWS: Fr. Vu made religious vows as a brother with the Congregation of the Mother of the Redeemer in 1970. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 2000 at the order’s monastery in Carthage, Missouri.
ALTAR CALL: The oldest of nine children, Fr. Vu was born in North Vietnam and moved to South Vietnam at two. As an altar server in his youth, he always wanted to be a priest, and a younger brother is a CRM priest in Vietnam.
A DIFFICULT JOURNEY: Faced with imprisonment, Fr. Vu fled Vietnam on foot through Cambodia in 1987, then he took a boat to Thailand. After almost two years in a refugee camp there and in the Philippines, he joined his religious community in Missouri in October 1989.
WHY THE PRIESTHOOD: “I want to serve, to love, and to teach. I came to serve parishioners with all of my heart.”
BEST THING ABOUT BEING A PRIEST: Fr. Vu appreciates celebrating Mass every day, along with Reconciliation. “I have a chance to talk to them and help them to understand God loves them so much. No matter what, who they are, God loves them, understands them, forgives them, and wants to be with them forever.”
MOTHER MARY: Fr. Vu usually prays two mysteries of the Rosary in the morning and another two in the evening. His favorite place to pray is in the chapel in front of the tabernacle.
KEEP THE CULTURE: The parish has special celebrations honoring Mary in May and October and celebrates the Vietnamese New Year. About 300 parishioners load six buses for the annual pilgrimage to Marian Days in Carthage, which Fr. Vu describes as tiring but a great “chance to bond with each other.”
LET THEM EAT CAKE: Fr. Vu likes to read, to fish, and to cook. Cakes are a specialty of his, and he bakes as many as 20 for parish events. He experiments with different ingredients to change the flavors and moistness.
MESSAGE OF LOVE: “I try to help [the parishioners] trust in the Lord. Whatever struggles, or sickness, no matter what. Jesus loves them, cares for them, understands them, and will be with them forever. I want to leave a message of love to them so they can trust the Lord”