Meet our new bonus priests: Vincent Bui and Thomas Nguyen

The priestly ordination took place May 14 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The ordination was recorded and can be viewed here. Over the next few days, the Denver Catholic will be posting profiles of all of Denver’s newest priests.

Vincent Bui

Vincent Bui felt the call to enter the priesthood as early as the age of five. He would record himself celebrating pretend Masses day after day in his home district of Hải Hậu in the Nam Dinh province in Vietnam.

Of course, the priesthood also ran in his family. His uncle, also named Vincent Bui, was a priest, and at the age of 12, Bui went to stay with his uncle. This had a profound impact on him that would solidify his call to become a priest.

“Since I had lived with [my uncle], I had read the whole Bible, Catechism and many books of the saints,” Bui said. “I was inspired by those and my uncle’s priestly life and I felt the call to priesthood.”

After high school, Bui applied to the vocation office in the Diocese of Bui Chu and discerned entering the priesthood during his first year of college. After graduating from college, he got a job in Hanoi, Vietnam. He took a vacation and decide to go serve and teach Catechism to the poor in Central Vietnam.

“After two weeks of staying with them, in my prayers I truly heard God’s voice in my heart,” Bui said. “I left my job and came back to my diocese to serve in a parish for one year and the bishop’s house for one year before I can to St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in May of 2008.”

Now, after eight years of seminary, Bui has been ordained a priest for his home diocese of Bui Chu. Though he falls under the jurisdiction of the bishop of that diocese, Bishop Thomas Vu, Bui has been assigned to serve at All Saints Parish in Denver for the next three years, which has a large number of Vietnamese parishioners.

Thomas Nguyen

Thomas Nguyen’s family has known he would be a priest since he was a small child. Now, at the age of 32, he has made their dreams a reality.

“My grandparents always prayed that God would choose some of their offspring to be his priests,” Nguyen said. “My parents always thought I would become a priest, but they never said it out loud.”

Nguyen grew up in Vietnam, where many of his family’s friends were priests. He realized his vocation for himself on the feast of the Transfiguration, when he was about 10 years old and the Gospel reading moved something inside him.

“I felt with certainty the words ‘You are my beloved son, upon you my favor rests’ were addressed directly to me,” Nguyen said. “That voice filled me with peace and joy. I did not know what to do except to pull out my rosary from my pocket and begin to pray. I simply thought that praying the rosary would make me a good child and that I would be able to hear that voice addressed to me again.”

After high school, Nguyen joined a four-year vocational discernment group in the diocese of Bui Chu, Vietnam. After finishing Law school, he spent a year living with the pastor of his home parish to further discern. Finally, he worked in the office of the Bui Chu bishop, who eventually sent him to St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver.

Nguyen said he has enjoyed his time in seminary, but looks forward to parish life back in Vietnam.

“In seminary, you have professors to teach you; in the parish, people will look to you to teach them,” he said. “Therefore, the biggest adjustment moving from the seminary to the parish is concerning his the way you relate to God in the midst of change.”

COMING UP: Diversity of newly ordained priests a great witness to the universality of the Church, Archbishop says

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila said he was grateful that two Vietnamese preists were able to study and be ordained in Denver. Photo by Dan Petty.

Seven men were ordained to the priesthood on May 14 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

The diverse nationalities of the men represented the universality of the Church, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila said.

“It is a great witness to the universality of the church that we have men being ordained today from Vietnam, from Mexico, from Colombia and from here in the United States,” Archbishop Aquila said.

Fernando Londoño, Matthew Magee, Mason Fraley, Salvador Sánchez-Gasca, Brother James Claver, Thomas Nguyen and Vincent Bui were the men who were ordained. Photo by Dan Petty.

(Not in order) Fernando Londoño, Matthew Magee, Mason Fraley, Salvador Sánchez-Gasca, Brother James Claver, Thomas Nguyen and Vincent Bui were the men who were ordained. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Londoño, Magee, Fraley, Sánchez-Gasca and Brother Claver were all given assignments within the Archdiocese of Denver, while Nyugen and Bui are going to serve in their home diocese of Bui Chu in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The bishop of the diocese of Bui Chu, Thomas Vũ Đình Hiệu, was in attendance at the ordination. Archbishop Aquila thanked him for his presence and for so graciously allowing Bui and Nyugen to study for the priesthood at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Colorado.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila said he was grateful that two Vietnamese preists were able to study and be ordained in Denver. Photo by Dan Petty.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila said he was grateful that two Vietnamese priests, Fathers Thomas Nguyen and Vincent Bui, were able to study and be ordained in Denver. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

During the homily, Archbishop Aquila implored to men to maintain a demeanor of humility and servanthood, imitating that of Christ in their own priesthood.

“It is important for you to understand your own weaknesses. You are called to be deeply rooted in your own humility,” Archbishop Aquila said. “Make yourself a total self gift, no matter what the cost. Always keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.”

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception had standing room only for the May 14 ordinations. Photo by Dan Petty.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception had standing room only for the May 14 ordinations. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

He said that only with the heart of Jesus can the men fulfill their priestly duties.

“In your ministry you will meet those who are sick and suffering. It is only with the heart of Christ that when you are called in the middle of the night to go and anoint the sick or baptize the dying that you will do so with joy,” he said. “Jesus, who has gone before us, has experienced all and he calls us into his love.”

unspecified6

The new priests receive the kiss of peace from all the priests of the archdiocese. The Archbishop reminded the men that a fruitful ministry would come from having servants’ hearts and a faithful relationship with Christ. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Archbishop Aquila told the men to reflect upon and cultivate their own relationship with Christ and to share the love they have experienced with those they will be serving.

“It is only in that personal experience in the gaze of the love of Jesus from the cross that we truly see the depth of his love for us,” he said.

With some of the new priests being sent to a different part of the world, he reminded them that no matter where they are called to serve, their mission will always remain the same: to lead others to Christ.

“It is precisely in your ministry that you will be nourished as priests, no matter where you are called to serve,” Archbishop Aquila said. “You are sent with the same mission, and that is to lead others to Christ.”

unspecified

The newly ordained pose with their bishops and priests from St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. Click here to see a list of the new Denver priests’ parish assignments. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)