Fr Michael

Father Michael has been Parish Priest at Holy Trinity since Oct 2010, moving from Our Lady of the Assumption, Tile Hill, Coventry.

Father Michael first came to England in 1981 at the age of 22, and soon became the first Vietnamese to be ordained as a priest in the UK.. He left his family behind in Vietnam after the takeover of the south of the country by the Communists, and boarded a small, crowded boat with 77 others.

"When I left Vietnam it was really hard. The Communists had taken over and people had no freedom," he added.

"After three days we ran out of petrol and then just drifted in the ocean for 17 days without food and water.

"The sea was so rough I thought I would die. When a pregnant woman on the boat gave birth I worried the baby wouldn't survive, so I prayed for them. I promised God that I would be a good person if he helped us survive.

"A few hours later a British cargo ship on the way to Singapore came and picked us up. "From Singapore I decided to come to England because the British had picked me up and the men on the ship were brilliant.

I wanted to repay the British people who saved my life. "I had doubts about whether I would be accepted, because I had no English. It was hard for people like myself who were so desperate in Vietnam and came here to start a new life without our families. But everyone was so brilliant and kind.

"Thank you to the people in Britain, Coventry and this parish who opened their arms and welcomed me. Without their hospitality and friendship, I wouldn't be here today."

Watch Story of Father Michael's rescue on Songs of Praise (thank you CJM Music)