Seminarian Huan Ngo Pilot photo/courtesy Office of Vocations
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Home town and state: East Boston, Mass.
Seminary attending: St. John's Seminary, Third Theology
High school: Boston Latin School
College: Providence College
What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter the seminary and discern the question of a vocation to the priesthood?
I was blessed to grow up with a good and solid foundation, namely, family and parish community, where the faith was not only taught but was also practiced daily. It was something like the rich young man in the Scriptures, the questions of holiness and happiness dawned on me. It comes down to a twofold question: how can I love God with my whole heart, mind, and strength, and love my neighbor as myself? This question requires a response.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
My pastor, Father Wayne Belschner, played a great part in assisting me with arriving at the decision to enter the seminary. Witnessing his love for Jesus Christ and the Church in the concreteness of everyday life is truly an inspiration. He opens my eyes to seeing that holiness lays in "doing smalls things with great love," and "that sanctity lies not in doing extraordinary things, but rather, through ordinary common activities."
What would you say is the role of prayer in the life of a seminarian and what effect does it have on one's ability to see God's call?
Just as communication is critical to a good and healthy relationship between two people, so too is prayer in the life of a seminarian concerning his relationship with God. God is constantly knocking at the door of one's heart, he desires to enter and dine with the person, and the person with him. The seminarian who prays is the one who heeds the knocking and opens his heart to God. The Holy Spirit will teach a person how to pray, the only thing that a person has to do is open the door, by entering into prayer, which will allow the Spirit to work in the person. His love and peace will strengthen one's ability to see better the things of God.
What advice would you give to a man who is thinking about his vocation and is considering that God may be calling him to be a priest?
Speak to priests, seminarians, family, and good friends about the possibility that God could be calling him to be a priest. Having done so, he should bring all the counsels and advice to prayer, asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and the grace to be able to say yes. While thinking and considering the possibility is good, it cannot stop there. Moving forward with a humble and generous response to God's grace is critical. There may be fear and resistance, but do not be afraid because God, in his goodness, only wants what is best for you, your holiness; if God does call you, rest assured that he will take good care of you.
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
I enjoy the order of the seminary life. There is a rhythm of life that is in accordance with God's peace. Also, I am being challenged daily in different aspects of my life, namely these four: the spiritual, the intellectual, the human, and the pastoral. These challenges help me to grow in holiness, love for God and neighbors.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?
One of the greatest challenges is uncertainty, such as, is this what God wants? Is this what I want? Will I be happy? These are excellent questions to ponder, but they should not be obstacles to the answer. Uncertainty can be frightening. To walk with Jesus daily can be very uncomfortable. It requires total trust and abandonment of oneself. The cross has to be embraced. The invitation to "come and follow me" indeed bears much weight, but one should not forget Jesus' promise to that invitation: "everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life."
What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?
I enjoy playing sports, specifically, soccer, volleyball, and Frisbee, and watching movies. Also, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. Lastly, reading books and playing board games.
What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?
A way to encourage vocation is witnessing happy and joyful priests and seminarians who are in love with Jesus, and that love is expressed joyfully in the sharing the Faith with others and serving them. The ministry of presence is very important.
Seminarian Spotlight is a collaborative effort between The Pilot and the Archdiocese of Boston's Office for Vocations to introduce readers to the men preparing for priesthood in the archdiocese. More seminarian profiles and information on discerning a vocation are available at www.VocationsBoston.org.