BOYNTON BEACH â€“Â The lives of Diocese of Venice Seminarians Joseph R. Gates and Duong T.T. Nguyen were forever altered when they made a formal commitment to serve God as they received the Sacrament of Holy Orders during their ordination to the Transitional Diaconate.
Most Rev. Gerald M. Barbarito, Bishop of the Diocese of Palm Beach, presided over the ordination of Gates, Nguyen and 14 other men of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary at St. Thomas More Parish inBoynton Beachon April 21.
â€śWe give thanks, first and foremost, to the Lord for calling them to this ministry of service for us,â€ť Bishop Barbarito said. â€śWe also give thanks to them for discerning and accepting the call.â€ť
Gates, 28, and Nguyen, 36, have been studying and discerning their call to the priesthood at St. Vincent de Paul. The two men both said they are overjoyed to have made a commitment to serve God in this particular way.
â€śIt is a â€śYesâ€ť of your entire self, that only you can give,â€ť Gates said. â€śThis â€śYesâ€ť is being given to God, knowing he will never leave meâ€¦ giving myself to God, so that I may bring others to him.â€ť
Ngyuen said that as the ordination proceeded he grew calm in the knowledge that his choice was right. â€śI am so happy and joyful right now. I know this is right. I felt the Holy Spirit come upon me as the Litany of Saints was sung. In my mind I saw the face of each saint looking down upon me; very powerful.â€ť
The church was full of family and supporters of the men being ordained. â€śIt was great to have my mother and brother here fromCalifornia,â€ť Nguyen said. â€śIt was also powerful to see so many people support this important moment in our lives.â€ť
Bishop Frank J. Dewane congratulated the two men for reaching this crucial point in the priestly formation. â€śWe are blessed to have Joseph and Duong preparing for the priesthood for our Diocese. The thoughts and prayers of myself and all of the clergy and laity of the Diocese go out to them in support.â€ť
Bishop Barbarito said that for the young men to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders and, as Holy Orders implies, they must order their lives to Christ and service to His Church, as part of their preparation for priesthood.
â€śIn your ordering of your lives more closely to the Person of Jesus Christ today, you will make three significant promises to Him and His Church which will intimately affect the rest of your lives,â€ť he continued. â€śThese promises are a lifelong commitment of celibacy, a lifelong commitment of prayer especially through the Liturgy of the Hours, and a commitment to the service of the Church through obedience. While these are a trinity of separate promises, they form a unity in the ordering of your lives. All of them become one in the handing over of yourselves to the Lord completely and totally this day.â€ť
Bishop Barbarito used the example of St. Anselm — the Feast Day on which the ordination took place â€“ whose love of truth and a constant thirst for God marked his entire existence should be an â€śincentive to seek tirelessly an ever more intimate union with Christ especially through the promises you make today.â€ť
Representing the Diocese of Venice at the ordination was Diocesan Director of Vocations Father Cory Mayer; Fathers Gregg Caggianelli, Jim Cogan, Russell Ruggiero, Tom Kelly and Paul McLaughlin; and Deacons Jun Rocca and Tom Hanks.
The newly ordained men will be given parish assignments for the summer where they will play an active role in parish life leading up to ordination to the priesthood in a year or so.
Hometown:Ann ArborMichigan; nowMarcoIsland
Education:AveMariaCollege;FranciscanUniversity; andUniversityofSt. Thomas
Parents: Jim and Kim Gates
Siblings: Krystalyn, William, Rosalie, Mary-Katherine, James, John-Dominic, Peter-Gabriel
Born:Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam
Hometown:San Jose,Calif.; nowBradenton
Education: Aquinas Institute;UniversityofSan Diego; andSan JoseStateUniversity
Parents: Henry Hoang and Nancy Nga Nguyen
Sibling: Steven Son Nguyen