By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – Father Anthony Quyet celebrated his last Mass at as the official pastor for Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle, Jackson on Sunday, Jan. 12, before his retirement.
Ordained on June 18, 1983 at St. Patrick Meridian by Bishop Joseph Brunini, Father Quyet was quoted then saying that he was “pretty nervous and wanted everything to go well.”
After 37 years as a priest, serving the parishes of St. Patrick Meridian, St. Therese Jackson, St. Michael Forest, Immaculate Conception Indianola, St. Benedict Indianola, Christ the King Jackson, St. Mary Jackson and Cathedral of St. Peter Jackson, in addition to serving various roles through the years such as part-time vocation director, Father Quyet was at ease for his retirement celebration after all of his prior experience.
Originally from Bui Chu, Vietnam, Father Quyet attended seminary school in Missouri. Bishop Joseph Kopacz spoke at the celebration Mass about the story of how Father Quyet ended up in Mississippi. He told the packed pews that a chance meeting between Cardinal Bernard Law and Father Quyet sparked the decision to consider a move to Mississippi, as the temperatures were more complimentary to Vietnam than those in northern states.
“I was impressed by Father Anthony because he not only had to learn to speak English when he came, he had to learn to speak Mississippian,” joked Bishop Emeritus Joseph Latino.
“How he ended up in Mississippi, God only knows.”
During his time in Mississippi, Father Quyet got to serve in ten different parishes and communities.
“[I served] those big and small. I served black, white, Hispanic and Vietnamese,” said Father Quyet.
He began celebrating Mass in Spanish at St. Michael Forest in April 1991, a tradition that continues today to the large Hispanic population in the area.
In part to Father Quyet, Bishop Kopacz said he could “see the face of the universal church in many ways in our diocese and our priests. We are very blessed in that way.”
Father Quyet closed the Mass with his final remarks, so thankful to be surrounded by all of the people he touched over the years from many different parishes in attendance at his final Mass before retirement.
“I am grateful to God for His grace that enabled me to serve God and people as a priest for the last 37 years,” said Father Quyet.
“I am grateful to you for your love and support and generosity that helped my ministry grow.”
Instead of simply growing, Bishop Latino said of Father Quyet, “he surely bloomed where he was planted.”
(Berta Mexidor contributed to this story.)