By Liz Sullivan
Amid the backdrop of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph, and faithful from the Diocese of San Jose and beyond, Gabriel Lee and Khoa Vu were ordained to the priesthood during a Mass on June 3.
This is the first priestly ordination in the Diocese since 2014, but marks the start of, hopefully, three more years of priestly ordinations.
The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath. Concelebrants included were: Bishop Thomas A. Daly, Bishop of Spokane and former Auxiliary Bishop in San Jose; Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla, Bishop Emeritus of Yakima; Monsignor Francis Cilia, Vicar General; Father Brendan McGuire, Vicar General; and Father Joseph Benedict, Pastor of the Cathedral. In addition, scores of priests also concelebrated the Mass.
“Today we celebrate your willingness to serve,” said Bishop McGrath, “a service that places you at odds with the overriding sentiments of our society, a society which still has much to learn from the Lord.”
Lee was born in South Korea and immigrated to the United States in junior high school and converted to Catholicism while attending Sierra High School in Santa Clara. He is the third Korean-American priest of the Diocese.
“I believe that everyone has that specific moment when it feels that God is ever closer,” said Lee. “At our ordination, I felt that I am now a part of a lot bigger reality than myself alone. I am now a part of the Church’s Tradition and I am only called to bring Jesus Christ closer to the people. I am looking forward to share the virtue and ministry of the priesthood with the People of God.”
Vu has the distinction of being the first Vietnamese-American priest, born in the United States, of the Diocese of San Jose. His uncle Father Lieu Vu is Parochial Vicar at Saint Christopher Parish.
“My hope and dream is just to be able to do the work of the Lord entrusted to me to the best of my ability,” Khoa Vu said. “There is nothing more satisfying than working for the Lord in the vineyard. I hope to always do according to God’s will.”
Music ministry was provided by choir members from Holy Korean Martyrs (home parish of Lee), Our Lady of La Vang (home parish of Vu), Sacred Heart Saratoga (where Lee spent his pastoral year) and Saint William (where Vu spent his pastoral year) Parishes.
Lee and Vu will officially begin their ministries at their assignments July 1. Father Lee will become Parochial Vicar at Saint Frances Cabrini Parish and Father Vu will become Parochial Vicar at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish.