A New Chapter: Father John Vu Cao
With much excitement, St. John XXIII Catholic Church welcomes our new priest, Father John Vu Cao. Father John traded the Golden State for the Sunshine State and calls the move a new chapter in life. But how he arrived is quite the testament. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Father John was one of six children. His father died when he was eight years old. His memories of the war-torn country date back to when he was just a young boy. On April 30,1975, at just 10 years-old, he and his family left Vietnam by ship.
After 19 days at sea, they finally reached the Philippines. He went through several refugee camps before a Catholic church in Denver, Colorado sponsored his family.DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN
In his introduction interview, Father John looked back at his childhood with gratefulness and explained how God called him to be a priest. You’ll also learn about what makes him tick… his favorite hobbies, the fact that he can’t remember the last time he ate a candy bar (yes, I’m serious), and what he loves most about serving God.
We couldn’t be more thrilled to have him as part of our family!
Danielle Koleniak: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Fr. John Vu Cao: I was born in southern Vietnam in 1965. I lived there for the first 10 years of my life. In 1975, we left. I lived in several refugee camps in the Philippians and California. Then a Catholic family near Denver, Colorado sponsored my mom and five siblings to move.
At the age of 12, I left home and joined the Vietnamese community in Carthage, Missouri. I was ordained in 2001.
I’ve been in Corona, California for the past 8 years.
DK: Where is your family now?
FJ: Everyone in my family is in California, except for my brother. He lives in Texas.
DK: What do you think of Southwest Florida, so far?
FJ: This is my first time in Florida. The people and the Vietnamese community have really welcomed me with open arms. I already feel a sense of community here.
DK: Tell me about the moment you decided to become a priest.
FJ: I knew at 12. I had a genuine desire to become a priest without knowing what it really meant. I didn’t feel like I could live a family life. I love children and I love family life, but I didn’t imagine myself having it. Plus, I’m a perfectionist. I don’t think anyone could stand me! Haha! There was something going on when God called me when I was 12, it wasn’t an accident. God put the right people in the right place to bring me to the priesthood. By 11th grade, I really decided that this was something I wanted to stay with for the rest of my life. I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.
DK: What are some of your hobbies?
FJ: I love to read books. They make me feel fulfilled. I like to read books about spirituality and Martial Arts novels. It’s addicting!
I also enjoy working in production/mass media.
DK: What are you most passionate about within the church?
FJ: I like working with small groups and ministries—helping people with growth in their spiritual life.
DK: What are your goals that you would like to see happen in our parish?
FJ: I want to continue to build on the foundation of the Vietnamese community here. My vision is to help people appreciate the spiritual life. I want to help the community grow.
DK: Now, onto some fun questions. What’s your favorite food?
DK: Favorite Dessert?
FJ: Fruit. I don’t like cake or candy. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a candy bar.
FJ: I like Vietnamese folk music and 80s Pop
DK: Play any sports?
FJ: I like tennis, soccer and basketball.
DK: Where would you like to travel?
FJ: I would like to go to South America. I’ve never been there before.
DK: If you were trapped on an island, what three things must you have with you?
FJ: Wine and bread to celebrate Mass and books.
DK: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
FJ: I’m an introvert, so some people may get the impression that I’m cold when really, I really want to have friends. I like to interact with people.
DK: We’re so excited to have you. You will have many friends here!