A first year seminarian shares his story…

 

7 August 2017 General Interest

By Hien Vu

My name is Hien Vu. I am the seventh of eight children and grew up in the countryside in Dong Nai, Vietnam. I was very fortunate to receive a very good education, in comparison to other brothers and sisters. My parents are devout Catholics in our local church and they are good, honourable people. In fact, they nurtured my spiritual life by going to church, attending Mass regularly and family prayer, especially the Rosary which we prayed together as a family each night.

Along with these practices, I received a solid foundation in both studying at school and helping with activities in the parish where I lived. Moreover, as the youngest members of our family, my younger sister (who is now a novice in the Philippines) and I were under the considerate care of our older brothers and sisters who were already married. They showed great affection towards us, loved us and did not hesitate to correct us when we did something wrong.

After finishing high school, I went to Ho Chi Minh City to study at the College of Foreign Economic Relations for 3 and a half years, gaining a degree in 2010 and then continuing my studies at the Foreign Trade University for one and a half years where I was awarded a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2013.

During my student days, I met and made friends with other students from many different regions of Vietnam. Most of them were atheists, while others were of other religions like Buddhism or Hinduism. The majority of them were good people; however, I had a feeling that they were still missing something within, that related to a need of a right way to live. Some were living a loose life when they lived far from their families, without parental control. Also, I began to feel that I needed to do something then specifically to help others as well as myself to break out of this circle of life which found me following the same, familiar road like many out there. Although I had the degrees, jobs and opportunities ahead, I felt I was missing something inside; I asked myself: what exactly is my true purpose in life?

Annually, on Good Shepherd Sunday, in St Joseph Major Seminary of Xuan Loc, an orientation day is held for those who want to discern about a priestly vocation. In 2013, with my mother’s encouragement, I attended the orientation day praying for vocations. I was impressed by what I had heard and seen, alth I had a vague feeling this is what I wanted to do.

After that, I started to find out more about the vocation that I was being drawn to. My parents and all the other members of my family were happy about the fact that I want to discern my vocation to become a priest. However, they completely respected whatever decision I would make. I went to see my Parish Priest, other priests and sisters whom I knew, asking for spiritual guidance, with the hope that they would help me towards a deeper discernment. A question constantly echoed in my mind, “Is God calling me? Does He want me to be His priest?” Finally, after a considerable period of time praying and consulting, I signed up for the entrance exam for Xuan Loc Seminary and then I was successfully chosen to be a diocesan pre-seminarian in 2013.

Over the past three years, I have learnt a lot about community life not only in general knowledge but also I have known how to adapt to a new environment. In the seminary, we were trained under the particular guidelines for pre-seminarian. Living in a community, I had the opportunity to get to know many other brothers whom I had never met before. More than ever, it felt hard to live with others who had different characteristics, but finally I managed it well.

In early 2015, I was chosen to consider a vocation in the Diocese of Broken Bay. This was a path that I had not thought of before. I always admired missionaries, but never had I supposed myself to be the one of them! However, I gave it serious consideration. After one week praying and conferring with those concerned, I replied honestly to the vocation director that it was not my personal will to go, but if I was to be sent, I would go. My decision was made in total peace and freedom. It was not based on my own interest or transitory desire, but after a time being with God, just being there and reflecting, I heard a voice inside telling me that this was what Jesus wanted me to do so.

I was offered the opportunity for an immersion experience in Broken Bay for one month in 2015. I really treasured this time because of the experience I gained from it, especially about the Australia, the Diocese of Broken Bay and the life of the Catholic Church here.

After some delay with my visa, finally I came to Australia to become a seminarian for the Diocese of Broken Bay in August of 2016. In February, I officially joined the Seminary of The Good Shepherd, commencing my first year as a seminarian. And what I can say is that now I am really joyful to be here in the seminary! I follow the program and try to be open to the grace God bestows on me to transform me.
I tell myself that I am just at the beginning of my life journey. I entrust my entire journey to God because He alone knows me best, and what will be best for me. With this faith, I am ready to accept what is ahead with joy and a burning desire.

Catholic Diocese of
Broken Bay

Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

PO Box 340
Pennant Hills NSW 1715

Phone 02 9847 0000
Fax 02 9847 0001
news@dbb.org.au

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