On Saturday, December 17th, Henry Bùi Nguyen, SCJ, was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Thomas Thái Thành Nguyen,
On Saturday, December 17th, Henry Bùi Nguyen, SCJ, was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Thomas Thái Thành Nguyen, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Orange. The ordination took place at St. Columban Catholic Church in Garden Grove, CA, just a few miles away from Fr. Henry’s home parish of St. Polycarp, where he celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving on December 18.
Fr. Henry is 33 and professed his first vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) in 2018. He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from California State University in Monterey Bay, and an M.Div from Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.
“I first considered a vocation to the priesthood in my early teens,” said Fr. Henry. “I wanted to be a missionary, although at the time I didn’t really know what that meant, I just felt called to do it.”
But fear of what pursuing a vocation might really ask of him, and concern for his widowed father caused Fr. Henry to set aside his initial call. “I didn’t want to leave my single dad at home.”
In 2013 Fr. Henry began to more seriously listen to that initial call. Four years earlier, he had met Fr. Francis Vu Tran, SCJ, at a leadership conference hosted at St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin, WI. “That was my first encounter with an SCJ parish.” It later became the first parish in which Fr. Henry would serve as an ordained minister; he did his diaconate internship at St. Martin of Tours and will continue to assist there as a priest.
Fr. Henry became a candidate with the Priests of the Sacred Heart in August, 2015. “The Dehonians stood out to me because of their response to and for the Eucharist. In formation, my religious vocation grew hand-in-hand with my priestly vocation.”
His vocation to religious life and the priesthood has always been rooted in what he says is “a call to serve, to accompany others. Formation solidified my desire to be with and help others. I am called to community life; with the support of my community, I know that I will prosper in responding to the Heart of Christ… I felt the call to bring the sacramental love of Christ to others, to share the fact that our God is a loving and compassionate God. We SCJs are called to be servants of reconciliation.”
Father nurtured his faith and vocation
Fr. Henry credits his father, Douglas Nguyen, for nurturing his faith and his vocation. “My father, since as far back as I can remember, has reminded me of the importance of prayer,” said Henry. “Even when I went to the seminary, was ordained to the diaconate, my dad has continued to remind me to pray. PRAY EVERY DAY!”