Hoa Tien Nguyen
Prince of Peace Parish, Lewiston
I wanted to become a priest ever since I was in middle school. I admired people who followed the religious vocation, especially priests. My family noticed my admiration for the vocation of the priesthood and sent me to live with a parish priest when I turned 12 years old. I lived with the parish priests from 1998 - 2005 and, under their guidance, I learned more about the priesthood and served regularly as an acolyte for the parish.
I finished high school in 2005. After high school, I came to Saigon to find a job and was a mason to support my family in difficult times from 2005 – 2006. After a year working in Saigon, I realized that I needed to continue to study in order to pursue my initial dream of becoming a priest. So, I decided to take the exam in the university. I attended Phu Xuan University from 2007 to 2011 and majored in literature. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I studied and graduated with a Master of Arts degree at the Hue University of Sciences in 2014.
During my breaks from school, I enjoyed attending youth group activities and doing charity work for the Quang Binh province. This was the meaningful time for me to pray and rethink about my vocation. In the light of the Holy Spirit, I prayed a lot, and I felt the impulse coming from God that I needed to return another way to follow the vocation that I desired before.
From 2014 – 2015, I worked as a missionary for two parishes in Vietnam: Tan Hoi Parish under the leadership of Fr. Joseph Phan Van Hieu and Khe Cat Parish under the leadership of Fr. Peter Tran Ngoc Huong. While serving there, I had many chances to communicate and learn from the people whom I was serving. I learned about their struggles and lives of poverty. and because of these experiences, my desire for the priestly vocation burned stronger in my heart. I really want to continue with my vocation.
During this time of discernment, I was inspired by this statement of Mark's Gospel, which says “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16, 15). The more I reflected on this statement, the more I was challenged. I often asked myself if I am ready to follow Jesus Christ. I also realized that it is not easy to follow the priestly vocation. However, I am convinced that if I follow Jesus, he is always with me and will strengthen my spirit. In May 2017, I was accepted by the Diocese of Portland in Maine as a seminarian.
I am known as a musician who loves to sing and play piano. I see myself as a man of faith who has confidence in God's divine providence. I also see that I have potential to be an educator.
I find myself to be an extrovert; I like to communicate and befriend people and create a cheerful and friendly atmosphere in community life. Additionally, I love participating in sports and communal activities, not only for the opportunity for me to connect with other people, but to also help me learn more about American culture.
I really love studying and like all subjects. I hope that I will study well with my best ability to complete the needed requirements in the dimensions of becoming a priest of Christ.
I love the poor, the homeless, and the children of God. I always realize that living with the poor and helping them recognize God is an important goal and is linked to the pastoral life of a priest because this mission is rooted in Christ and is also the Church's demand for priesthood.