Fr Stephen Pilly SVD and Fr Joseph Vu SVD have both emphasised ‘family’ as they take up their new appointments at the multiculturally vibrant St Mark’s Parish, Inala, in Brisbane.
Fr Stephen, (pictured far left), has been appointed as Parish Priest of St Mark’s, while Fr Joseph (far right) has been named Assistant Priest of St Mark’s and Chaplain to the Vietnamese community in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Reflecting on his appointment, Fr Stephen says he is looking forward to building on the parish’s existing strengths and to working with parishioners to embrace the gift of reconciliation and to promote spirituality and the family apostolate in the parish.
“I’m looking forward to all the different joys and challenges,” Fr Stephen says.
“The charism of the SVD is to spread the Word. It is my desire to spread the Word, building on the Biblical apostolate began by Fr Michael Nguyen SVD, which is an important part of the parish.
“I can also see that the people are very attached to the parish through the sacraments, which is wonderful.”
Fr Stephen says that upon his arrival he was thrilled to see so many young people attending the parish.
“In Holy Week, the youth organised the passion play and the Stations of the Cross,” he says. “I hope to keep building on the youth ministry, so that is strong and vibrant, involving the youth in all the parish activities.”
The Divine Word Missionaries have a long history with St Mark’s Parish, with the parish having been established by the SVD in 1956 and known as the ‘Parish of the Divine Word’. Under the leadership of Fr Guilford Lyons SD, the parish was incorporated into the Archdiocese of Brisbane in 1961 and renamed St Mark’s. In 2011, the Archdiocese of Brisbane once again asked the Divine Word Missionaries to provide clergy for the parish.
The Wacol Migrant Centre’s proximity to St Mark’s has seen the parish blessed with a rich national diversity over the years. Today, an estimated 1200 Vietnamese parishioners contribute to the life of St Mark’s, as well as people from Britain, Eastern and Western Europe, The Philippines, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand and most recently, Africa, Sri Lanka and India. The parish has also fostered a strong ministry with refugees from Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Fr Joseph, who will be based at St Mark’s as assistant priest, has been appointed as chaplain to co-ordinate the pastoral care of Vietnamese Catholics right across the Archdiocese of Brisbane, taking in about 4000 people. His chaplaincy work will be based at the Vietnamese Catholic Centre, adjacent to St Mark’s.
Addressing the Vietnamese community at a recent welcoming Mass, he said he was looking forward to walking with the people and journeying together with them in faith.
“Please take me in as one your family members,” he said.
“We leave behind both the joys and the struggles of the past. As we make this new beginning we can be absolutely assured that the God who has called us by name and showered each of us and this community with many gifts and blessings, will sustain the whole community as we re-commit ourselves to the great adventure and life pilgrimage of following in the footsteps of Jesus who is the risen Lord.
“May the Lord indeed bless us in all our endeavours.”
PHOTO: Fr Stephen Pilly SVD (far left) and Fr Joseph Vu SVD (far right) are pictured at a special Mass where they were introduced to their new parish of St Mark's, Inala.