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Meet Orange County's Newest Priests; They're a Diverse Lot

One was born in Saigon, one was a doctor and the third -- with a Jewish father and an Episcopalian mother -- was an opera singer.

A past ordination of priests in Orange County. Photo courtesy the Orange County Diocese.
A past ordination of priests in Orange County. Photo courtesy the Orange County Diocese.

Two of three Roman Catholic priests to be ordained Saturday in the Diocese of Orange are of Vietnamese ancestry, reflecting a trend within the church and Orange County -- home to the highest concentration of Vietnamese outside the Southeast Asian nation.

The Rev. John Duy Nguyen, Rev. Charles Tran and Rev. William Goldin are scheduled to join 180 other diocesan priests during a 10 a.m. ceremony at St. Columban Church in Garden Grove.

Asian-American priests are becoming priests faster than any other ethnic group in the diocese, which counts about 1.2 million Catholics, according to Ryan Lilyengren of the diocese.

Though Catholics of Asian descent make up only about 1 percent of U.S. Catholics, they account for about 10 percent of priests being ordained, he said, referring to research done at Georgetown University.

Bishop Kevin Vann will ordain the new priests.

"Their ministry will be vital to our church because of the gifts and talents they bring to the ministry, as well as their ability to assist in serving the growing number of Catholics in Orange County," he said.

Priests also are trending older, with the median age of ordination pegged at 32 in 2014.

Tran, who will be the parochial vicar at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Newport Beach, was born in Vietnam, where he started serving as an altar server in the second grade. He became a doctor, but he said he later realized he had a calling to become a priest.

"Now, I am not only a doctor of the body," he said, "but also am a doctor of the soul.

Goldin, a native San Diegan raised by a Jewish father and Episcopalian mother, became a Catholic when he was 15 and went on to Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor's degree in music.

The operatic singer later earned a master's in music at UCLA, then a master's in theology. He also studied to become a professor of theology in Belgium at the Catholic University of Louvain.

Once ordained, he will be sent to Rome to continue his studies at Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Nguyen, born and raised in Saigon, emigrated the the United States in 1992, first studying for the priesthood at St. John's Seminary in 2005. After completing this education, he felt the call to the priesthood and began his seminarian studies at the Diocese of Orange and attended St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park.

Nguyen will be assigned to St. Norbert Church in Orange, where he did his pastoral internship.

--City News Service


Brainwashed_In_Church June 05, 2014 at 07:36 PM
Hopefully these guys will see reality some day and give up their desire to propagate superstitions. However, if it makes them happy, then what the heck: Happiness trumps reality.
James Hammond June 06, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Andy, I'm an atheist too, and I sympathize. But you really don't have to be so condescending. I wish these men well in their pursuits, and urge them to use their positions for the betterment of all humans in this life, and to bravely and ethically confront the grave moral problems in the church today.
Stan Jacobs June 06, 2014 at 12:43 PM
When the communists drove many Catholics out of Vietnam they did not realize how well the US would benefit by their persecution.
Brainwashed_In_Church June 06, 2014 at 02:14 PM
James, I get paid to increase the Patch's page hits.
David Otto June 07, 2014 at 01:21 AM
These guys are me friends. They give up their lives to live for Christ. There is nothing more real than Jesus Christ, God made flesh. Show me reality, because in the end, there will be nothing more real and vivid and real, than Jesus Christ.

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