Saint Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, CA
In the Vietnamese culture, having a priest in the family is always looked upon highly, so the question, “Have you ever thought about becoming a priest?”, was planted into my head at a young age. I always answered my parents that I was not interested and they eventually gave up. I grew up in a very faithful Catholic family. We prayed before bed and when we woke up. We prayed before meals and we went to Mass every Sunday. I was very naive, so I never really took the faith seriously, I only did all of this praying and going to Mass because I felt like I had to.
When I was in 6th grade, a situation happened in my family that made me turn away from the faith and completely lose all hope in Jesus. This was the darkest period in my life. But, in the midst of darkness, there is always going to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
My freshman year of high school was the same year that I was going to receive the sacrament of confirmation. At my home parish, they took the confirmation students on a three-day retreat. I only agreed to go on the retreat because I thought that once I received this sacrament I would be done with attending Sunday school, however it changed my life for the better. At the retreat, I finally felt a sense of peace that I had not felt for several years. I remember not wanting to lose this feeling. I prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament at the retreat. I asked God, “How can I keep this feeling of peace and not lose it?” At that point, in my heart, I felt a strong attraction to the priesthood. That was when I started discerning.
I then got in contact with Randy Hoang and he suggested that I attend a Come and See at Mount Angel Seminary. I remember walking up the stairs of the parking lot to the main courtyard for the first time and immediately I knew that this was where I was called to be. When my senior year of high school came around, I applied for the seminary and was accepted by the Archdiocese. I can say with great confidence that this was the best decision I have ever made.