The concelebrated Masses on the weekend of 29 - 30 January 2011 that significantly marked the official retirement of our much loved Parish Priest of the last ten years, Fr John Cunningham, and the affirming arrival of Fr Thang Vu as his replacement were at the same time poignant, joyous, encouraging, and an affirmation of our Parish values - Inclusiveness, Hospitality, Service and Mission.
In his shared homily Fr Thang related our lives and in sometimes different ways the lives of people in Vietnam to Matthew's Gospel reading 'How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdon of heaven'. Fr John spoke briefly about the wonderful and necessary challenge of change, for all of us on our life journeys. Warm words were spoken of Fr John's ten years, and in return Fr John warmly thanked the people of Ivanhoe for what he called the privilege of working with us. He also thanked Fr Len Thomas for all he meant to the Parish and to himself. He felt very optimistic about Fr Thang. Whilst tinged with sadness the weekend was greatly uplifted by the words and demeanor of Fr Thang.
The joy of the changeover was not from the retirement of Fr John's but from what we have all gained together, and the hope has been brought to us all, and that now continues with Fr Thang amidst the natural, but rapid, changes of life.