Rev Fr Thi Lam was born on 10 October 1975, in Gia-Kiem, Vietnam, the fifth in a family of five sons and two daughters. Fr Thi was a jeweller before he came to Australia with his family in 1992 and lives in Perth. After he arrived in Australia, he attended the Intensive English Class while he worked as a baker in his family business. In 1998 he entered St Charles’s Seminary in Guildford to study for the priesthood. He graduated with a Bachelor of Theology at Notre Dame University, Fremantle in 2002 and he was ordained priest for Catholic Archdiocese of Perth on 22 August 2003.
He was then appointed as an Assistant Priest of Our Lady of Mercy, Girrawheen and School Chaplain to Mercy College, Koondoola in 2004. He was appointed as an Assistant Priest of St Mary’s Cathedral (Perth) in 2006.
He was recruited to join the Australian Defence Force to become a Naval Chaplain in 2008. After completing his naval officer training, he was posted to HMAS Stirling, Rockingham as a Chaplain in 2009. He was posted to HMAS Cerberus in Hastings, Victoria from 2011 – 2013. From 2013 – 2015, he was posted to seagoing service on the Australian warships, and deployed overseas on a number of occasions including the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.
On returning from his various deployments, he was posted to serve in Sydney at HMAS Kuttabul for two years, between 2015 and 2017. Whilst serving at HMAS Kuttabul, he had to travel to other defence establishments on the weekends to provide pastoral support and religious sacraments to Catholic sailors and their families in the Jarvis Bay region in New South Wales. During his defence force service, he completed a certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. He was involved in a range of complex pastoral issues e.g. family conflict management, emotional support, prolonged physical separation, sudden death, PTSD and moral injury.
In January 2017, Fr Thi decided to transfer to the Naval Reserves, and returned to Perth as he wished to be closer to his family. He undertook a new appointment by his Bishop as Chaplain to St John of God Murdoch Hospital until such time, when he was appointed as the Parish Priest of St Vincent’s Catholic Church in Kwinana on 15 September 2020.