By Liz Sullivan
Three men from three different walks of life, all reaching the same destination: service to God and the Church.
On May 18, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph, the Diocese of San Jose will celebrate the ordination of Armando Brambila, Dinh Chu and Robert Lassalle-Klein to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate.
Bishop Oscar Cantú will celebrate the Mass, beginning at 9:30 am, which features the laying on of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit.
Three men; three different stories; one destination.
Dinh Chu escaped Communist Vietnam in 1979 and arrived in America as one of the infamous Boat People.
Armando Brambila shares an immigrant background, arriving in America in 1995.
While Robert Lassalle-Klein is the grandson of immigrants, who has dedicated his life to helping others, especially in the Hispanic community. He actually lives in Alameda, but spends a great deal of time in ministry in San Jose at Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“I think we’re all united in the same journey with the lord,” said Lassalle-Klein, who holds a Masters in Social Work and is a graduate of Santa Clara University. “For me I said yes to the call decades ago when I fell in love with God. I was drawn into the leadership of the church and subsequently the Diaconate. I kept saying yes.”
A parishioner at Our Lady of La Vang, for Dinh Chu the path to yes at one-time meant studying for the priesthood.
“I took a leave from my studies and then went to school for social work,” he said, as he holds a Masters in Social Work from San Jose State University. “I feel I am called to serve. The time is right for me to serve as a Deacon.”
A member of Saint Cyprian Parish, Brambila said he never expected to leave his native Mexico and come to the United States. However, growing up his grandmother made him pray for one hour each day.
“God has plans for you and sometimes you don’t know what they are,” said Brambila, who works for a medical device company as an engineer. “I am here because my wife (Armida) encouraged me.”
As is often the case partnering with these candidates are three wives proud to be on this journey. Each also have three children.
“Armando has something in him that has drawn him to God,” said Armida Brambila. “He has always put his family first, but now is the time for him to do this. I am really, really happy for him.”
For Lynn Lassalle-Klein faith has always been a strong part of her family. She and her husband met as students at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. Together, they were part of the group that founded the third incarnation of Oakland Catholic Worker in 1987.
“The diaconate just feels like a continuation of what we’ve already been doing,” she said. “I love the social justice aspect of this program.”
Dinh Chu’s wife Letu Pham admitted at first she was nervous when her husband decided to become a deacon.
“I prayed to God and realized God was calling him to do this,” she said. “He is a good husband and a good father and I will support him the best I can. Everything is in God’s hands.”
The men will learn their diaconate assignments shortly before their ordination.
Checkout the June 11 issue of The Valley Catholic for photos and a story on the ordination.