June 19, 2016
Jesus says that true greatness lies in being a person of service (Matthew 23:11). According to that description of greatness, Christ Cathedral Parish has been blessed by two truly great priests, Fr. Tuyen Nguyen and Fr. Juan Navarro. Fr. Tuyen has served as Pastor of St. Callistus Church and now as Vice-Rector of Christ Cathedral Parish for 13 years. Fr. Juan has served as Parochial Vicar of St. Callistus Church and now Christ Cathedral Parish for 5 years. In my 38 years of priesthood, I have never served with more hard working priests than Fr. Tuyen and Fr. Juan.
Fr. Tuyen, thank you for your unrelenting efforts to be present to all who come to you. Presence is one of the greatest gifts a priest can give to his people. Your faithful presence greeting the people on Sundays, at parish activities, diocesan events and special gatherings has shown us your loving care. You have worked hard in bringing unity to a diverse community. In the challenging move of St. Callistus to the Christ Cathedral campus and in our transformation toward becoming a cathedral parish, your wise and steady pastoring has been essential. Making sure I have a glass of Vietnamese coffee every Sunday as well as preparing a generous bag of food for me to take home from our Sunday food sale is a sign of your hands on, personal care.
Fr. Juan, thank you for your enthusiastic presence among the Hispanic community and among all of us. Your attention to detail is a powerful sign of your respect for the people. Your love for the Liturgy, countless hours of planning, practice, and preparing materials for our liturgies speak of a priestly spirituality centered on the Eucharist. You, along with Fr. Tuyen, have been an example of presence to the people from the doors of the church to the doors of hospital rooms. Both of you have graced us with your beautiful singing and your musical talents. As beauty is the gateway to the divine, your many talents have often lifted our minds and hearts to our loving God.
Know that our love and prayers are with you as you begin your new assignments. Greatness has indeed walked among us through our dear Fr. Tuyen and Fr. Juan. We will always thank God for you.
Together in faith,
Fr. Christopher Smith, Rector