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Ready for Ordination; Diocese of San Jose Prepares to Ordain Two Men to Priesthood

Rev. Mr. Gabriel Lee Rev. Mr. Khoa Vu


By Liz Sullivan

For Gabriel Lee and Khoa Vu, one journey is about to end and another begin.

On the morning of June 3, Lee, 27 and Vu, 28, will be ordained priests of the Diocese of San Jose by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath during Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph. Lee and Vu have spent the last year as transitional deacons serving the Diocese.

This is the first priestly ordination in the Diocese since Father Jeff Fernandez and Father Reynoldo Sarmiento were ordained in 2014.

“I look forward with great joy to June 3, the day we will ordain Khoa and Gabriel to the Priesthood,” said the Bishop. “I give thanks to their parents and families for the gift that they are making to the Lord and his Church. My gratitude goes out also to the Vietnamese and Korean Catholic communities of our local Church who have helped nurture and mature these vocations, and to the priests and religious whose ministries have been models of the kind of service that these two young men are embracing. I pray that they will serve the people of the Diocese of San Jose long into the future and that, in doing so, will draw many to the Lord Jesus.”

Lee was born in South Korea and is the son of Won Hee Lee and Kyung Ryu Choi. Along with a younger sister, Lee immigrated to the United States when he was in junior high school. He converted to Catholicism when he attended Serra High School in San Mateo. From there, Lee attended San Jose City College and Saint Patrick’s Seminary and University.

Lee’s family are members of Holy Korean Martyrs Parish. Lee spent his pastoral year at Sacred Heart Parish, Saratoga, and he will be the third Korean-American priest in the Diocese.

“Being a deacon was definitely a meaningful experience,” said Lee, “but I am certainly excited about the priesthood. This journey has been a mixture of human consolation and desolation, with tons of grace from God. Yet, it all began with the Love of God and my promise to love his people with all of my heart, strength and knowledge.”

Vu will have the distinction of being the first Vietnamese-American priest, born in the United States, of the Diocese of San Jose. He was born and raised in San Jose, growing up in the now Our Lady of La Vang Parish. The oldest of five children, Vu is the son of Sim Van Vu and Linda Kim Dang, who were immigrants from Vietnam and sponsored by Holy Family Parish. Vu is a graduate of Oak Grove High School, University of California, Davis, and Saint Patrick’s Seminary and University.

“Ordination is a gift from God,” said Vu. “It is not something that I earned or is a right of any individual. The Church calls the candidate to Holy Orders. At this moment, the feeling of gratitude overwhelms me.

On July 1, Lee and Vu will officially begin priestly service at their new parishes as Parochial Vicars. Lee has been assigned to Saint Frances Cabrini Parish and Vu will serve Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in the same role.

“My hope and dream is just to be able to do the work the Lord entrusted me to do to the best of my ability,” said Vu. “There is nothing more satisfying than working with the Lord in the vineyard.”

Said Lee, “I have no doubt I will fall in love with the people of God and my ministries as I did Holy Korean Martyrs, Sacred Heart Saratoga, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Palo Alto Catholic Community. I will be there with my hope to meet everyone in the parish, office and the parochial school.”