A Day to Celebrate and a Call to Service and Brotherhood
April 28, 2016
Thursday of the 5th Week of Easter
This Saturday, April 30 two of our Capuchin brothers, Tien Dinh and Tom Nguyen, will be ordained priests at the St. Lawrence Seminary Chapel. Tien and Tom are SLS alumni, and they will receive this sacrament at the hands of another alumnus, the Most Rev. David Zywiec, a friar who currently serves as Auxiliary Bishop for the Apostolic Vicariate of Bluefields, Nicaragua.
These presbyteral ordinations are notable for several reasons. Tom and Tien are the first two Vietnamese friars in our province to be ordained priests, just as they were the first two to make perpetual vows. They are only the third and fourth members of our province to be ordained since 2000 (though we anticipate more “coming through the pipeline” over the next few years). Further, they are beginning their priestly ministry in a Church that is significantly different than in 1993, the last year we had two friars ordained at the same time. (I was one of them. Paul Koenig, now Custos of the General Custody of Arabia, was the other.) Our Church here in the USA has been and is being reshaped by a variety of forces, from the coming of age of the Millennials to the twilight of the Baby Boomers, from the forces of globalization and secularism to blights of clericalism and scandal.
In the face of these and many other challenges, Tien and Tom are choosing to serve God and God’s people as priests. More than that, they are choosing to serve as brothers: to lead by walking with the people entrusted to their pastoral care; to die to themselves and give of their time, talents and substance to others; to trust in and be instruments of God’s love and mercy; to listen at least as much as they speak; to proclaim God’s word with clarity, simplicity and insight; and to act as generous stewards of the sacraments they will be privileged to celebrate.
We give thanks for Tom and Tien and their gifts, along with the generosity and support of their families. We pray that God’s grace will continue to live and work through them as they return to their ministries in Detroit and Montana.—JC