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Conversation with Bishop Vincent Long

On Tuesday evening, 12th April 2016, some seventy parishioners of
Holy Trinity Parish gathered for a ‘Conversation in Faith’ with Bishop
Vincent Long.
Bishop Long who came to Australia as a Vietnamese boat person, is
an Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, responsible for the West of the
Archdiocese.
He spoke of his parents’ flight from communist North Vietnam, by
boat also, to South Vietnam, where many Catholics fled. With the
fall of Saigon to the communist North, Bishop Long, with thousands
of others, fled the South in boats, seeking asylum elsewhere. Three
days out to sea the boat he was on ran out of fuel, water and food,
and drifted for another four days until they were picked up by a
passing ship and taken to an oil rig. From there they were sent to a
United Nations transit camp in Malaysia until their future
destinations were determined. Bishop Long arrived in Australia in
1980.
In 1983 he became a Conventual Franciscan friar and commenced
his studies for the priesthood in Melbourne in 1984 and was
ordained a priest on 30 December 1989. He was appointed a Bishop
in May, 2011 by Pope Benedict XV1.
Among other things, Bishop Long called for Australia to restore the
sense of generosity, welcome and hospitality it extended to him and
his fellow refugees in the Fraser era. This attitude seems to have
changed since 9-11 when Border Protection, accompanied by fear
and suspicion, replaced Immigration and welcome.
Bishop Long further called for a Church, after the heart of Pope
Francis, which reached out to the poor and marginalized; an
institution, where sensitive pastoral practice and inclusion were the
norm, and not exclusion of some to the comfort of the many.

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