Fr Quyen Vu has been appointed to be the next Provincial of the Australian Jesuits. He will be returning to Australia to take up this new role after many years on mission in Timor Leste and Cambodia. Welcoming the announcement, current Australian Provincial Fr Brian McCoy SJ says Quyen’s ministry reminds us that we belong to the universal mission of the Society of Jesus. We are called to share what we have with those most in need, both within Australia and beyond our shores. Full transcript below.
Last week, as you may know, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus Fr Arturo Sosa appointed the new Provincial for the Australian Province, Fr Quyen Vu.
This process of the selection and the appointment by the Superior General has taken, as you may well also know, some several months. It began at the end of last year when we looked at the needs of the Australian Province and the Australian Church at this time. We looked at the qualities we wanted in a new Provincial for this Province. We consulted with lay and Jesuit. And we had hoped to have a further consultation with some Jesuits in April this year. But due to the pandemic this was postponed until July. And even then, some were in lockdown, some were able to visit and spend time with other Jesuits in a process called murmuratio, and some were still locked down overseas.
But out of that process, and further consult with my consultors, some names were sent to Father General for his decision. And he, after further advice from his consultors, made that decision which we heard last week, the appointment of Fr Quyen Vu.
Fr Quyen Vu, Quyen to us as Jesuits, has been the director of Xavier Jesuit school in Cambodia, and has been involved in the education apostolate in Cambodia for the past six years. This means he needed to learn the language of Khmer. And prior to that he was involved in education in Timor Leste for also six years, and there he needed to learn the language of Tetum.
So Father Quyen Vu, an Australian Jesuit who came as a refugee at the age of 10 with his family to this country, and has grown up in education within this country and within our province. He reminds us that we are an international society, called to share the gifts we have with those who also seek further resources and support, not just in Asia Pacific but other parts of the world. And he, like other refugees, reminds us that unless we are First Nations peoples, our ancestors, those who came before us, also sought asylum or refuge of various kinds in this country. And we are privileged now to grow in those resources and share those resources, especially for Jesuits in the region of Asia Pacific.
Father Quyen reminds us, as a refugee from Vietnam, of the great blessing of the Vietnamese people to the Australian Church and to our Province, reminding us once again that we are part of this larger international family that seeks peace and justice and safe homes throughout the world.
But Quyen also reminds us that we are no longer an Austrian mission as we once began. Nor an Irish mission that followed. But we are now an Australian province reflecting more and more the multicultural elements of our Church, and our nation. And he reminds us, as he returns to lead this Province from January 1st next year, that each of us is called to share what we have, not just for ourselves but beyond our shores and with those in need.
So we give thanks for the appointment of Fr Quyen Vu. We give thanks for his family. And we give thanks for those who wait for his return to begin a new chapter in the Australian Province.
So let us pray for him. Let us pray for the Society of Jesus. And let us pray for a new beginning as we come out of this pandemic, and we share what we can with each other in the Church within Australia, and beyond our shores, to those most in need.
We pray he will return safely and return soon to this Province.
Fr Brian F McCoy SJ, Provincial.