Members of the Vietnamese Catholic Community of Vermont rejoiced with Deacon Luan Tran, a native of Vietnam, as he was ordained a transitional deacon June 1 at The Cathedral of St. Joseph in Burlington.

The special Mass, celebrated by Hartford Archbishop Christopher Coyne, former bishop of Burlington, was live streamed so dozens of Deacon Tran’s family members and friends could join in the celebration from Vietnam.

“We are very excited,” said Tram Vu, a member of the Vietnamese Catholic Community of Vermont and parishioner of Holy Family Church in Essex Junction. Occasionally a priest from Montreal comes to Vermont to celebrate Mass and minister in Vietnamese, so she hopes once Deacon Tran is ordained to the priesthood, he will be able to minister to Vermont people from his homeland.

“We are very joyful and so proud as a Vietnamese community,” said Hau Ha of St. John Vianney Church in South Burlington. “We are very thankful he has come.”

Vu said it is good for Catholics whose first language is Vietnamese to be able to receive the sacraments — especially reconciliation — and spiritual counseling in their native language.

Deacon Tran came to Vermont in 2017 when he was 31. He was a seminarian in Vietnam, but his bishop asked him to consider becoming a missionary priest. “I’m very happy because I decided to come,” the former lawyer said.

Archbishop Coyne told Deacon Tran and the congregation at the ordination Mass that Deacon Tran has become part of the Diocese of Burlington. “We’re adopting you, fully adopting you,” he said.

The deacon is called to minister in three specific areas: ministry of the word, ministry of sacrament and ministry of charity.

Archbishop Coyne called upon Deacon Tran to be a herald of Good News, and he gave him some practical advice including: wear his Roman collar proudly, never apologize for being Catholic, accompany people on their path to holiness, be present to his people, offer to bless people’s homes, meet people in coffee shops and grocery stores, and even invite himself to people’s homes for dinner.

His point was that the deacon must be present to his people, to serve not to expect to be served.

“The Catholic Church in Vermont is glad you are part of the family,” Archbishop Coyne told Deacon Tran. “Now go out and spread the Good News.”

During the Mass, the archbishop laid his hands on the man to be ordained, and through the laying on of hands and the Prayer of Ordination, the gift of the Holy Spirit for the office of the deacon was conferred on Deacon Tran.

He was then invested with the stole and dalmatic. By this investiture, the liturgical ministry he now will fulfill as a deacon was manifested outwardly.

Edmundite Father Charles Ranges, pastor of the Essex Catholic Community, vested Deacon Tran.

Burlington Bishop-elect John McDermott thanked the archbishop for coming to Vermont for the ordination and offered other words of thanks.

“Only bishops can ordain priests and deacons,” explained Josh Perry, director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Burlington, noting that as bishop of Burlington, Archbishop Coyne welcomed Deacon Tran when he first arrived from Vietnam and was with him through most of his formation and provided guidance.

Deacon Tran said he was excited to be ordained a transitional deacon as he prepares for ordination to the priesthood. “I trust in the Lord,” he said. “God provides.”


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