Ordination class of 2016: Deacon Huan Dominic Ngo

Deacon Huan Dominic Ngo Pilot photo

This is the fifth in a series of articles profiling each of the nine men who will be ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on May 21. Earlier articles in the series are available at TheBostonPilot.com.

God and the faith have always been a very big part of Deacon Huan Ngo's life.

Born in Vietnam, the third child of six, his family always adhered to their faith. He recalls seeing his parents attend daily Mass in Vietnam.

When Deacon Ngo, who goes by his baptism name Dominic, was eight years old his family emigrated to the United States, settling in East Boston, where they were quickly welcomed by the Vietnamese Catholic community at Sacred Heart parish.

It was his pastor, Father Wayne Belschner, who first asked Deacon Ngo to consider the priesthood.

"One day my friend (from the Vietnamese community) asked me to sit in and talk to the pastor because he wanted to become a priest," the 29-year-old explained. "After speaking with him several times, my pastor suggested I go on the discernment retreat with my friend."

"At the time, I had no intention of being a priest," he laughed, "but I went."

Although the friend ultimately did not enter the seminary, Deacon Ngo did.

"My parents were very supportive, although my father was a bit surprised," he said. "My mom, she always wanted me to be a priest, but the idea had never really crossed my mind. Or rather, I always had pushed it aside."

He attended Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio for one year before transferring to Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Providence, where he completed his pre-theology studies.

Studying philosophy proved to be very challenging for Deacon Ngo. He recalls turning to Father Belschner for guidance.

"He said to me, 'Study hard and pray harder.' Those words never left me. I studied as best as I could, but I prayed even harder, going to confess as often as I could," he said.

It was during this time that a passage from Scripture began to resonate with Deacon Ngo, he said. "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself' -- that really stayed with me."

After graduating, he entered St. John's Seminary, but quickly realized he wanted more time to discern before being ordained.

"I had never experienced working, or what it was like in the world," he explained.

For two years, Deacon Ngo lived at home, working to pay off student loans. But, he said, the Scripture passage never left him.

"I enjoyed what I was doing, but I kept thinking, 'Have I loved God with all of me -- with my heart, mind and strength?' I knew I was running away from my vocation," he said.

He reapplied to St. John's Seminary, and never looked back.

"From that point on, the ball started rolling," he laughed. "And then it all came together -- I could really sense that there was something much bigger than me calling me to the priesthood."

"I have come to see how much God loves me," Deacon Ngo said. "Every time I look at the crucifix and every time I am at Mass, I see how much he has loved me and he asks me to respond to that love. And He also calls me to do the same: to lay down my life for all those that will be in my care."

Deacon Ngo sees the need to guide people to God as the biggest challenge he will face once he is ordained -- a challenge he is willing to take on.

"A lot of people want to do the right thing -- they want to be happy, to love and to be in the truth," he said. "No one wants to be lied to, but we are in a world that is very confusing, with so many mixed messages."

He hopes to be able to provide guidance to those who are searching for God. As a deacon at St. Joseph Church in Needham, he has been able to preach at the Masses -- something he has enjoyed greatly.

"It has helped me to spend more time in prayer on the Word of God, asking God to speak through me...to be able to inspire, to comfort, to share what I have received," he said.

"I want to let people know that God really loves them. I want to be able to share what God has done in me, and to help them to see that God is working in their lives as well," Deacon Ngo continued. "I want to let them know that there's hope in the midst of all this craziness in the world."

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...