Asylum seekers lunch with Fr Thinh

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Home > Media > News > Asylum seekers lunch with Fr Thinh
Asylum seekers lunch with Fr Thinh

Eight young Vietnamese asylum seekers living in suburban Hobart have been honoured by a visit from Melbourne priest Fr Thinh Nguyen.

Fr Thinh travelled especially to Hobart to celebrate Mass and the sacrament of Reconciliation for the young men, in Vietnamese language, at St Mary’s Cathedral.
“I am here to spend some time with them, and to look after their soul,” said Fr Thinh.

“Their faith is a very big thing for them,” he said.
Fr Shammi Perera from Cathedral Parish facilitated the visit and spends as much time as he can towards the pastoral care of these boys.

The young men, aged between 15 and 18 years of age, live together in an apartment close to the city.  While they await a decision from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on their future, they are supported by workers from a government appointed welfare agency on a daily basis.

Their uncertainties were put aside as the young men prepared and cooked an aromatic feast of fish, duck and pork and other Vietnamese delicacies for their special guest and other friends and supporters.

Twenty-seven years ago, Fr Thinh himself was a refugee who arrived on a boat with part of his family.  His support for these young men is invaluable at this time in their lives.
Joseph from St Therese’s Parish, Moonah was also present at the lunch. He left Vietnam in 1980 and came to Tasmania via Malaysia and then Melbourne. The boys look to him as a father figure and elder.

Joseph says that when he left Vietnam, he didn’t care where he went: “I just wanted freedom,” he said.

This year, at least, Christmas will be spent with friends, if not family, as parishioners from around Hobart have opened their hearts and homes to welcome these asylum seekers from Vietnam as part of their Christmas Day celebrations.