With the profession of their first vows on August 15, Phong “Paul” Hoang and Henry Nguyen became Dehonians, members of the US Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The vows were received by Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, US provincial superior, during a liturgy in the main chapel at Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.
“Today, I feel loved,” said Frater Paul right after his profession. “I heard it at Adoration, I heard it all day. I give thanks to God for my vocation with the SCJs. I am grateful to the community for giving me an education, the gift of community, valuable ministry experiences, personal growth, and most importantly, a love for the Heart of Jesus.”
Originally from Vietnam, Frater Paul, 26, is now a US citizen. Before entering candidacy, he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Houston. As a candidate, Frater Paul was a member of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement (TNTT) and also helped with the Vietnamese language program for children at Queenship of Mary parish in Joliet, IL. He did summer ministry with Sacred Heart Southern Missions in Mississippi.
“The experience in Mississippi strengthened my vocation with the SCJs,” he said.
Frater Henry, 29, was born and raised in Orange County, CA. “Five years in the making, three years in formation, has led me to profess vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart,” he said the week before his first profession.
“My vocation calls me to do love in all things,” he continued. “By being ‘Henry of the Heart of Jesus,’ I feel that it is my duty to respond to the lack of God’s love in the world, by spreading God’s love to where people need it most. By becoming an SCJ, I take on a social responsibility, a tug to be present with others.
“During this past year in the novitiate, I became certain that I must ‘love with an open heart and mind,’ and be available. Being ‘Dehonian’ has become my identity. Ecce Venio has become embedded in me.”
Frater Henry has been involved in a variety of ministries, including the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement (VEYM) at St. Henry’s Parish and Queenship of Mary in the Chicago area and as a Youth Leader and Youth Leader Trainer, “assisting youth and young adults with their journey of faith, helping them to grow closer to God,” he said. Last summer, he was a part of ESL residential staff at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. “We had over 40 students from all over the world; I learned what an impact the SCJ presence has on other communities outside of the United States.”
Fraters Paul and Henry are now members of the Sacred Heart Monastery community and will do their seminary studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.