School: St. Vincent de Paul Seminary
10701 S. Military Trail
Boynton Beach, FL 33436
I was born in Atlanta and grew up in Lawrenceville, GA for all of my life until I left home for college. My parents migrated from Vietnam in the early 90’s; currently, my mother is a cosmetologist, and my father is a machinist. I was raised by both my parents and grandparents who made sure I was exposed to the Catholic faith and Vietnamese culture. I have one younger brother, Mark, who I call my best friend.
What are your hobbies and interests?
My hobbies include ultimate frisbee, piano, and painting. When I am not participating in any of these activities, I might be reading a piece of literature or walking in nature.
What is one of your favorite scriptures?
“What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” – Mark 8:36
Who is your favorite saint and why?
Mary, the Mother of God. Her heroic faith and trust in the Father’s goodness in the midst of darkness is inspiring. Once I started to realize that she was also my mother, I could not help but feel protected under her mantle.
In a nutshell, what is your vocation story? How did you feel called to the priesthood?
Growing up, I became disillusioned with the Catholic faith because I saw it merely as a set of rules and practices. However, in college, I decided to seek Truth and wanted to see if it was at all present in Catholicism. I went to my first Bible study, met the Person of Jesus in the Gospels, and realized that Truth was Christ himself. Through my relationship with Jesus, I came to experience many other graces in my life which prompted me to want to share Christ with others. From this point on, my faith became an integral part of my identity. After graduating college, I pursued a career in software engineering and soon found myself in a comfortable, stable life.
Despite having basically all that the world could offer, I found myself restless and unfulfilled. I made a return to prayer and the sacraments, especially to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and felt a desire to serve God’s people with all my being. After talking to my seminarian friend, Johnathan Nguyen, I called up the Vocations Director and the rest is history!
What is seminary life like for you?
I am in my first year in seminary, and I love it! I am currently at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, FL, and the brotherhood is amazing. My seminarian brothers inspire me and challenge me in aspects of courage and prayer, and they are just wholesome guys to be around. Everyone at seminary wants you to flourish and to receive God’s love. Seminary life has also helped ground me in the present moment which I have discovered is where I can experience God’s peace.
What do you look forward to about being a priest?
I look forward to being able to hear confessions so that people may encounter the mercy of Jesus. Honestly, I am excited by the potential of caring for souls which encompasses all of what a priest does.
What advice do you have for other guys thinking about the priesthood?
Pray, especially in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Specifically, pray through any fears that you have about the priesthood and ask Jesus whether this is His path for you. Also, pray for increased trust in His will whether it leads you to priesthood or another good vocation. Secondly, I would reach out to the Vocations Director. Discernment cannot happen in isolation; it requires relationship, and this relationship will help you find answers to address any concerns you might have. On another note, I would not share that you are discerning to anyone else other than trusted parties as it can be hard to distinguish between what God wants for you and what others want for you.
That’s me on the back row at my parish, St. Lawrence.