Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Monday, 15 February 2021

A man with a divine message to become a priest… a story to be told

By Munir Bayouk/ :

“No slave is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20)


No obstacles can stand in the way of serving the Lord. It is merely a divine and a sublime call that can never be neglected or ignored.


Fr. Raphael Nguyen says, “It is amazing that, after so long, God chose me to be a priest to serve Him and others, especially the suffering.”


Father Raphael Nguyen who has served as a parish priest in the Diocese of Orange, California, since his ordination in 1996, was born and raised in Vietnam, and came to the U.S. as refugees in a series of waves following the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese communists in 1975.


Press reports indicate that Fr. Raphael was ordained a priest by Orange’s Bishop Norman McFarland after a long and painful struggle, where he suffered for his faith at the hands of the communist government of Vietnam, which prohibited his ordination in 1978.


After years of suffering, he managed to come to the United States. Confident that God was calling him to be a priest; he met with the diocesan vocations director, Msgr. Daniel Murray who said, “I was very impressed with him and with his perseverance in his vocation. Faced with the hardships he endured; many others would have given up.” Fr. attended St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo in 1991 and was ordained a priest where he said, “I was very, very happy.”


He has been delighted to serve as a priest. He said, “It is amazing that, after so long, God chose me to be a priest to serve him and others, especially the suffering.”


Priests are God's men on Earth, for besides serving as  an instrument used by God for the salvation of souls, they also help hopeless people find a noble way in life. Priests provide nonpareil divine services to humanity.


In the message of His holiness Pope Francis marking the 2020 World Day of Vocations (3 May 2020), he said, “Every vocation is born of that gaze of love with which the Lord came to meet us, perhaps even at a time when our boat was being battered by the storm… I ask the Church to continue to promote vocations. May she touch the hearts of the faithful and enable each of them to discover with gratitude God’s call in their lives, to find courage to say “yes” to God, to overcome all weariness through faith in Christ, and to make of their lives a song of praise for God, for their brothers and sisters, and for the whole world.”


As we venerate priest who dedicate their lives to the salvation of people through the dissemination of the Word of God, we ask Lord Jesus Christ, to keep our priests within the shelter of His Sacred Heart where none may touch them; to keep their anointed hands unstained as they daily touch His Sacred Body, to keep unsullied their lips which are daily purpled with His Precious Blood; to surround them and shield them from the world's contagion; as well as to bless their work.  May the Lord hear our humble prayers by giving them a deep faith, a bright and firm hope, and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of their priestly life. We implore the Lord to comfort and strengthen them.