MEET

Deacon Thong Nguyen

• Fourth Theology •

Seminary: Mount Saint Mary’s
Home Parish: Our Lady of Vietnam, Silver Spring
Graduated with a degree in business administration. He is the third of five brothers and has one sister.

My life before the seminary:
I was born and grew up in Vietnam. When I went to the College in Hanoi, I saw many injustice in the communist country. After watching the DVD The Life and Teaching of Pope John Paul II, a secret message came into my heart. The message that Saint John Paul II sent to the world was,“Be not afraid.” He encouraged me to do something for the church and for the country. At that time, I co-founded and was nominated as a president of the Diocese of Vinh Catholic Student Association in Hanoi. The Communist security police started to pay attention to me and they usually followed me and our community members. After speaking up for the freedom of religion in Vietnam, I was arrested by the communist government and then I escaped Vietnam to Thailand. When I arrived to the US, I habitually got involved in the efforts to advocate for human rights and religious freedom. I wrote articles for various newspapers and websites to inform the public of persecution and oppression of the Vietnamese government. I was invited to make presentations at different forums and, in these events, I continued to advocate and promote for democracy and human rights for Vietnam. In 2017, I testified before the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the US Congress, US Department of State, and USCIRF. I was a speaker for a strategy briefing on Vietnam in Congress organized by several human rights organizations in February 2017 and in April 2017, I was invited to a discussion at the White House led by Matt Pottinger, Security Advisor to President Donald Trump, prior to the May 2017 visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Phuc Xuan Nguyen.

What convinced me to enter the seminary:
I recognized that God is love and I also learned that true power is only found in Jesus. As Saint John Paul said, true Freedom and true Knowledge are found only in Jesus. I want to use the rest of my life to serve God as a priest.

Other interests include:
I like to play soccer, drink Vietnamese coffee and eat Pho.

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