Fr Joseph was born in Saigon, South Vietnam in 1965, the 5th child of 7 children – two boys and five girls. Because of the Vietnam War Joseph and his oldest sister left Vietnam as refugees on a boat in 1979, to be eventually settled in California in 1980. The rest of his family arrived in 1990. Fr Joseph’s mother, who is 84, is still alive in California. Sadly however his father died 5 years ago.
Fr Joseph has a Bachelor Degree in Science and a Masters in Theology. He was ordained as a Divine Word Missionary Priest on the 23rd March, 1996 in Chicago after completing studies at the Catholic Theology Union in Chicago. Fr Joseph’s desire to become a priest began when he was a young man singing in the choir for the funeral of a widow who had no relatives. He saw the priesthood as a way to be with the people who are lonely and on the margins in society.
Fr Joseph’s first appointment as a Missionary Priest was to Australia. He has worked in Sydney, New Zealand and Melbourne before being appointed to the Inala parish in 2014. The Vietnamese Catholic community in Inala numbers around 3000.
Within the Inala parish there are many Vietnamese prayer and spirituality groups and the role of Chaplain is a very busy one. Fr Joseph believes that the opportunity to share in people’s lives through baptisms, weddings and funerals is the joy of his priestly vocation, and finds pastoral care very fulfilling. He is available in the parish for appointments on Mondays and Thursdays, and on Tuesdays and Fridays works from the Vietnamese Catholic Community Centre at 42 Lilac Street, Inala.
Bàng Nguyễn Peter, was born into a devoted Catholic family in Quảng Trường, Quảng Bình province, Vietnam. The youngest of eight children, he has three brothers and four sisters—one of whom is a nun.
Bang graduated from university in Đà Nẵng in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree of Accounting and Auditing. While studying, Bang met a Divine Word Missionary who worked with Catholic Students as a Spiritual Director and they talked a lot about religious and missionary life.
On returning to his hometown, Bang worked with the Coseveco Company for about six months as an accountant, however, the word ‘missionary’ kept appearing in his mind and heart. At the age of 23 Bang was accepted into the Divine Word Missionaries and moved to Saigon to begin his philosophical and theological studies. After two years of study, he was asked to undertake the Overseas Training Program to learn and experience another culture and language. In 2007, Bang was sent to Budapest and spent a year there, learning Hungarian and working in a Catholic parish.
In 2013 Bang gained his Bachelors degree in Theology and was ordained a priest in Vietnam. In February 2014 Bang came to Australia as a young missionary and completed one year’s formation for English language improvement and six months of pastoral experience at St. Gregory’s Parish in Doncaster, Melbourne. In November 2015 he worked at St. Maximilian Kolbe’s parish in Marsden as an Associate Pastor and Chaplain for the Logan Hospital, before receiving his appointment from Archbishop Mark Coleridge in February 2007 to work at St. Mark’s parish, Inala.
Bang feels very privileged to spend his time doing missionary work at St. Mark’s, fully believing that God’s Grace will help him with his ministry in our Parish.
Sr. Philomina Mathew SSpS was born in Kerala, South India and has 5 brothers and 4 sisters.
In 1983 she took her final vows in Bangalore Province, India and has served in many ministries including teaching and accounting.
For 15 years she was involved in the formation of women to become Sisters in India, the Philippines and Sydney. She also served for 8 years in leadership positions in the Holy Spirit Sisters order.
With qualifications in Religious Formation and a Masters in Community Counselling, Sister Philomina completed a one year Spiritual Direction program at the Heart of Life Spirituality Centre, Box Hill, Melbourne.