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Building the City of God

Fr. Andrew Chan-A-Sue

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Born Aug. 1, 1953, in Georgetown, British Guiana (now Guyana), Father Chan-A-Sue’s name is actually an anagram. His great-grandfather was named Asue Chen, but when he immigrated to Guyana, he rendered it Chan-A-Sue. Father Chan-A-Sue first went into an accounting career. He earned a diploma from Liverpool Polytechnic in Liverpool, England, then joined the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He worked for auditing companies in London, Georgetown and Miami before answering the call to the priesthood. He earned a degree in philosophy at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, and a master’s degree in divinity at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Miami on May 13, 2000. Before coming to St. Bartholomew in October 2010, Father Chan-A-Sue served at St. Maurice in Dania Beach, Holy Family in North Miami, Blessed Trinity in Miami Springs and St. Andrew in Coral Springs.

Currently Fr. Chan-A-Sue is Pastor at St. Bartholomew Church.

Why did you leave a secular career to become a priest?

“When I went to college, I volunteered to lead rosary at lunch. A priest told my mother I should be a priest. I thought that was strange. In Miami, I got involved at St. Agatha and became friends with Father (now Bishop Felipe) Estevez. People kept saying I should become a priest. I decided I’d go to seminary; if I didn’t like it, I’d leave. But when I got there, it just felt right.”

Person/persons most surprised by your vocation:

“My family. My mother asked if I had to do it. I partied a lot. I wasn’t wild and crazy, but I danced a lot. I had a fun-loving life.”

Did the priesthood make you give up fun?

“I have fun in different ways. I like lively Masses. I’m always bobbing with the music.”

‘ I like lively Masses. I’m always bobbing with the music.’

Favorite priestly assignment:

“Everywhere. The culture is so egoistic that if we’re unhappy, (we think) it’s because of the people around us. Happiness comes from making the best of the surroundings.”

How do you like to spend time off ?

“Sometimes I go with friends to movies or dinner. For restaurants, I always like to try something new. And I like gardening.”

“‘Lincoln.’” He said, ‘Your compass may be true north, but you may have to go there by an indirect way.’ The lesson was that to get to a goal, you have to compromise.”

Last book read:

“‘The Infancy Narratives of Jesus of Nazareth,’ by Pope Benedict XVI. He comes with insight, speculating into the minds of the Gospel characters.”

Other interests:

Football. The Hurricanes and the Dolphins. “I like to go to the games at Sun Life Stadium just down the road.”

Person you most admire:

Person you most admire: “One is Nelson Mandela, for how he brought South Africa from the brink of civil war.”

Your most memorable spiritual experience:

“My ordination. I was tired because I’d been doing a lot of work. When they put me on the floor, I was afraid I’d fall asleep. But just after Archbishop (Emeritus John C.) Favalora anointed my hands, I felt a peace come over me.”

Father Chan-A-Sue is pictured here in Kew Gardens, London, in wintertime, around 1980.

Something most people don’t know about you:

“I always look at the theological aspects of movies. ‘Snow White’ is about power and innocence. The mirror sees the soul. The reflection is not the physical but the inner (self). And a kiss brings Snow White back to life. Love conquers death.”

Your harshest critic:

“In every parish, 10 percent are going to love you because you’re the priest; 10 percent won’t like you because you remind them of someone they don’t like; 40 percent will warm up to you; and the other 40 percent are just fulfilling their Sunday obligation. That’s the group you need to educate to become more active.”

Motto, or favorite Scripture verse:

St. Augustine: “Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands on earth but your hands, yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on the world, yours are the feet with which he chooses to go about doing good, for as he is the head, so you are the members, and we are all one in Christ Jesus.”