Q. Fr Dominic, where are you from?
born in Vietnam, and at the age of four, my
family and I went to the United States. Actually, we
escaped, and we settled in New Orleans.
Q. You were very
young at the time. Do you have any memories of
what life was like for Catholics in Vietnam when you
I was only four when I left, so,
as you can immagine, I don’t remember much, but I
do remember that mostly for Catholics and for those who
were on the south part of Vietnam, it was very
difficult. For that reason we left Vietnam. We escaped not
only because of the political situation but especially to have
greater freedom of religion. It was not easy. It is
not easy. In fact, the Catholic Church is under persecution—I
wouldn’t say outright persecution, but yes, a subtle persecution from
the government that does not give the Church the freedom
of living, the freedom for Catholics to live their faith.
Was it difficult to adjust to Western culture?
not difficult for me. I was very young. I didn’t
know much English, that’s for sure. The two words that
I knew were “yes” and “no” and that was what
we used to answer: “yes” or “no”. But being young
it was fairly easy to pick up the language and
the culture. It was not difficult to adjust.
Q. Why did
you decided to become a priest?
The story goes back
to when we escaped from Vietnam. I remember those who
helped us on the boats—I don’t know whether they were
priests or seminarians, but definitely they were leaders in the
faith and they were very heroic. I remember they used
to organize us to pray the rosary on the boats
and afterwards in the refugee camps. We would get up
and pray the rosary together and sing hymns to Mary
together as we were escaping Vietnam.
Afterwards, arriving to the United
States, the priests who had come over from Vietnam were
like Moses for us. They really took care of the
Vietnamese people when they arrived. They took care of their
material needs, but especially of their spiritual needs, and for
me, that was the most important, to see them as
real leaders of God’s people, from where true happiness came.
I remember when I was small, we had a lot
of traditions of the priests, and thinking of when I
was growing up, I think those were probably the happiest
moments of my life.
Q. What motivated you to join the
Legionaries of Christ?
I forgot to answer what made me
decide to become a priest! These priests were the real
inspiration for me, and I somehow wanted to be like
them, to help people. Now, what made me decide to
enter the Legion of Christ was very providential. For me,
a priest is he who freely, willingly, and joyfully serves
others in the name of Christ and quite frankly the
priest that I met that really inspired me to take
the steps to become a priest was Fr. Anthony Bannon,
the territorial director of the Legion in the United States.
Because of him, I think, I decided to enter the
Q. What expectations do you have for your priestly life
I don’t have any expectations really. It’s been
a blank check that I’ve signed, or at least tomorrow
with the ordination I will sign a blank check that
also has the signature of someone condemned to death, I
think. We have prayed a lot these days and have
contemplated the identity of the priest, and it really struck
me that the priest is he who has received the
privilege by his ordination to be crucified with Christ. What
does that mean? I think that each of us must
try to understand it better, but for me, it means
signing that blank check and hope for the best, and
the best, I think, is God’s Will.