Deacon Van Tran to be ordained

Deacon Van Dung Tran, who will be ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville June 1, proclaimed the Gospel at the archdiocese’s annual Chrism Mass March 26 at the Cathedral of the Assumption. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

When Deacon Van Dung Tran was a middle schooler, it wasn’t unusual to find him and a group of friends walking to church at 4 a.m. with only a torch to light their way.

That exercise in faith unexpectedly nourished a vocation to the priesthood, he said.

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre will ordain Deacon Tran along with Deacons Matthew Millay, Kenneth Nauert, Michael Schultz and Yen Tran at 10 a.m. on the first day of June at St. Michael Church, 3705 Stone Lakes Drive.

“I’m so excited. I’m nervous. Being a newly ordained priest, there will be many responsibilities. But I’m excited to serve the people of God, celebrate Mass and, through the sacraments, help people encounter Christ,” said Deacon Tran in a recent interview. “After 11 years of being formed, I’m ready to serve.”

Deacon Tran is the son of Su Van Tran, a fisherman, and Nguyet Thi Tran, a housewife, who raised six children in Long Hai Village in Ha Tinh Vietnam. Deacon Tran is the second-born. One of his siblings is a Sister of the Lovers of the Holy Cross. His parents were devout in their faith. “They took me to church and taught me how to pray,” he said.

Deacon Van Dung Tran

Deacon Tran said he’s not certain of the exact moment he first felt a calling to the priesthood. He earned a degree in information technology and, at one point, thought about pursuing a career in that field. 

“I don’t know when God saw in me the desire to become a priest, but I know I was attracted to it,” he said.

He believes attending daily Mass, reading Dominican Father Paul O’Sullivan’s book — “Read Me or Rue It” —  and seeing the ministry of his parish priests, planted and nourished the seed that became a vocation to the priesthood.   

In the seventh or eighth grade, Deacon Tran said, he joined a group of youth who faithfully attended daily Mass. In the fishing village, it wasn’t unusual for his parents to be up at 4 a.m. and for Mass to start at 5 a.m., he noted.

The children in his youth group would knock on each other’s door to make sure they were up. They’d walk to church, nearly a mile away, with only a torch to light their way. If their pastor couldn’t celebrate Mass at Cua Sot Church, their home parish, they’d walk two miles to another church.

 “Daily Mass nourished my vocation. The image of the priest celebrating Mass made an impression on me,” he said.

In his teen years, he said, Father O’Sullivan’s book pointed him toward a priestly vocation. 

“Read Me or Rue It” tells stories about the souls in purgatory and shares with readers how to avoid purgatory. “That made an impression on me,” said Deacon Tran. 

Father O’Sullivan explains that “one of the ways to help souls in purgatory is to say Mass for them. I thought, ‘Why don’t I become a priest?’ ”

Offering Mass for the souls in purgatory is one of the things he’s looking forward to in his priestly ministry, he said.

Deacon Tran will minister as an associate pastor at St. Michael Church, the parish where he will be ordained.

Ruby Thomas
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Ruby Thomas
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