Ten young men — age 20 to 33 — returned to seminary and formation for the priesthood at the end of summer break this year.
“They are joyful. They have a strong love for the church and God’s people and they want to learn and grow,” said Father Anthony Chandler, vocation director for the Archdiocese of Louisville. “They are young men who want to do something heroic for the church.”
“In the midst of all the negativity in the institutional church, these men feel called to stand up for what’s truth and the Church of Christ. They want to stand up for that.”
These seminarians have heard their callings, Father Chandler noted. But, he added, there are other young men who may not have because their vocations haven’t been nurtured.
“We’ve heard through the years parents pray, ‘God, please bring us priests, but not my child,’ ” he said. “Vocations are a family affair. If families aren’t on board, we won’t have vocations. If vocations aren’t something a family is proud of, we won’t have vocations.”
Father Kien T. Nguyen, the new associate vocation director, said growing up in Vietnam, his family was instrumental in nurturing his vocation.
“My parents planted the seed in my mind when I was very small,” he noted, adding that each night they taught him to pray the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary and Glory Be, followed by the simple prayer: “Bless my parents and make me become a priest.”
“I didn’t even know,” he said with a laugh. “I kept saying that I don’t know how long.”
Among the archdiocese’s 10 seminarians are three young men from Vietnam — Cuong Le, 29; Van Tran, 32; and Yen Tran, 32.
While Le is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Louisville, both Van Tran and Yen Tran (no relation to one another) are the latest to be formed here through a partnership between the archdiocese and dioceses in Vietnam. After ordination, the young men typically serve here as priests, though they may eventually return to Vietnam to minister there.
Father Chandler said the men from Vietnam “are eager to learn the culture and the language and the background.”
“That’s a very good thing,” he added. “I see how open they are.”
In addition to the seminarians from Vietnam, current seminarians are:
- Dustin Hungerford, 33
- Cole McDowell, 27
- Matthew Millay, 25
- Evrard Muhoza, 22
- Kenny Nauert, 25
- Michael Schultz, 23
- David Vest, 20
The seminarians attend five seminaries — St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in Southern Indiana; Theological College in Washington, D.C.; Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis; St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore; and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati.
For more information about vocations in the archdiocese of Louisville, visit the website of the Vocation Office, louisvillevocations.com.