The Golden Jubilee of Jesuit Brother Tran Van Tan, SJ

“I thank God with you and for you. Your life as a Jesuit Brother is a gift for the Society of Jesus and for Vietnam Province: throughout your life as a Jesuit, you have presented a living and inspiring image of the vocation of the brother,” wrote Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, the Superior General in his greeting to brother Tan on his Golden Jubilee for 50 years living in the Society of Jesus.

In 31 December, 1967, 50 years ago, brother Tan, a 20-years-old man at that time entered the Novitiate in Thu Duc and became a Jesuit. For 50 years up to now, he has been in the Society as the first Vietnamese Jesuit brother in the Vietnam Province.  And “Daddy” is his lovely nickname called by the Jesuits his brothers and his children.

In 31 December, 2017, the Society of Jesus in Vietnam celebrated the Golden Jubilee for him. Fr. Vincent Pham Van Mam, SJ, Provincial held the mass as the main celebrant with nearly 30 co-celebrants holding the mass along with him. Reflecting on the Readings in the mass of the Holy Family, Fr. Provincial in his homily conveyed his thought that Brother Tan, for 50 years has feared and loved God, has obeyed His will, and become the channel by which grants the grace to His people.

Brother Tan kept going on the sharing in the mass that he has always been grateful to the Society for the great love and the warm embrace reserved for him. “During my life-time, there is no complaint of my own tiredness made by myself,” he said. He has experienced it is nonsense that evangelization is to bring God to those who have not known Him. Indeed, this means that to make the God’s face lighter and clearer within every territory, for the reason that he has realized that God has been there before.

Attending the Jubilee ceremony, there were approximately 600 guests who came from the remote areas throughout the Central Highlands. They are the ethnic people to whom Brother Tan has met and invited to be the children of God. They brought to Saigon their traditional music, dances and performances.

The great Golden ceremony was continued by the camp-fire by night on the same day. “It’s a meeting for us to tell the story of Jesus, who has sung with us in our life and has made up our life as well,” Brother Tan said.

“I pray that your Jubilee year may be a time of remembering, of seeing with gratitude all the great things the Lord has done for you and through you,” what Fr. General sent to Brother Tan is also the call for everyone who has been surprised with Brother Tan’s life and his vocation.

Jos. Nguyen Minh Vuong, SJ