Father Philip Lành Phan, 31, was born in Vinh-Long, Vietnam. His parents still live there, where they are members of Sacred Heart Parish in the city of Tra-On. A sister and brother also live in Vietnam. Both parents were hand for the Ordination Mass, where his mother was a gift bearer. The Mass included readings in Vietnamese by Brother Vincent Vu, O. Carm.
Father Philip attended local schools and graduated from Can-Tho University in 2007 with a bachelor of science degree. Following graduation, he worked as a technician for the Golden Rice Pesticide Company in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in Vietnam. “During the first half of my life, about fifteen years ago, I dreamt of becoming a businessman, a successful engineer, or whatever profession that could make me a significant and outstanding person. Becoming a priest was not in the category at all, since I was not a Christian,” he says.
When he was 20, he had a personal encounter with Christ that led him to the Catholic faith. He was baptized in 2004. “My whole life changed,” he says. “It was like the moment when Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow him. They were fishermen, and they thought that all they wanted was to become skillful fishermen. Yet, Jesus called them and made them fishers of men instead.”
Coming to this country, he entered St. John Fisher Seminary in Stamford in 2007 for language training. In 2010 he was transferred to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., and completed his seminary studies this year. Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Stamford is his current home parish. He was ordained to the diaconate in St. Augustine Cathedral on June 20, 2015, by Bishop Caggiano and served his deacon internship at St. John Parish in Darien and St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Waynesboro, Penn. “Like the two Apostles, I will keep my dream of becoming a significant and outstanding person—but not in a worldly success, only in God and in serving his people as a priest.”
Father Philip, being bilingual, celebrated his first English Mass on June 25 at St. John Church in Darien at 4:30 pm. Father Frank Hoffmann, St. John’s pastor, gave the homily. He celebrated his first Vietnamese Mass on June 26 at St. Augustine Cathedral at 2:30 pm. Father Justin Le from San Jose, Calif., delivered the homily.
We warmly welcome Father Philip to our Parish!