Luke Thien Quoc Huynh had been living in Sydney for three years, practicing his faith and serving his Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement community as a youth leader.
But it was attending an open day at his future home in 2018 that would determine his path in life.
“After joining the ‘Come and See’ program at the Holy Spirit Seminary in the Diocese of Parramatta, there was a desire, which burned in my heart, to join the seminary,” Luke told Catholic Outlook.
“Although the desire to serve people as a priest happened occasionally when I was young, it was extremely strong after that first day at the seminary.
“It was here where I found my journey – my call.
“I recognised the call to join the seminary through my deep desire, which I still believe to be a mystery. Living in the Catholic community with my family, my brothers and sisters [in Christ], my priests and my friends solidifies my faith in the call from God.”
Luke is one of the four first year seminarians at the Diocese of Parramatta’s Holy Spirit Seminary, Harris Park.
Luke, 27, was born and raised in Sai Gon, Vietnam, and is the eldest of two children. Luke lived with his family until 2015, when he moved to Australia to live with his great uncle and aunt.
Growing up in Vietnam, Luke was a member of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement, where he read the bible and would attend Mass every Sunday. During this time, Luke served as an acolyte, a youth leader and as a catechist.
“I found happiness and joy when I served the altar and served people,” he said.
“Participating in youth groups, other Catholic activities, as well as talking to priests, sisters and my friends in the church give me a chance to recognise God’s call.
“God spoke to me through the Eucharist, Masses and the bible, where I found God and loved him with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength.”
Between 2015 and 2018, Luke completed a Bachelor of Accounting at the Sydney campus of Central Queensland University. Upon his graduation, Luke entered the seminary in February 2019 and was employed for a year in the Diocese of Parramatta finance department before entering Holy Spirit Seminary.
“I have the greatest memories of serving people [for the Diocese] and it made me fall in love with the people in this Diocese.
“Working with the people in the Chancery and visiting the churches [across the Diocese] over a year gave me great solid faith in my call to serve the people of this Diocese,” Luke said.
Luke explained that his parents were astounded by his decision to join the priesthood, and that they didn’t completely agree.
“After a few months of praying and sharing with them, they agreed with my decision. Thank God for giving them great joy and happiness as they saw my first day at the seminary.”
Whilst working for the Diocese, Luke was fortunate to be able to start his vocational journey by living at the seminary.
“Although I don’t see my family every day [living in the seminary], the relationship with my brothers gives me great joy and happiness.
“I enjoy working and sharing with my brothers in the seminary. We work together and support each other on the way to become holy as Jesus Christ himself.
“I enjoy studying to understand deeply about human beings, the love of God and I am able to visit and stay with God every day.
“The most interesting thing I’ve learnt from my brothers and fathers is how we take care and support each other in the love of God.”
Luke’s advice to young men discerning their vocation is for them to open their hearts to say “yes”.
“I believe that everyone will receive the call from God for a mission. God always calls us to follow Him, therefore, I wish that we always open our heart to say “yes” whenever we receive the sign from Him.
“Please do not pass any chance when you hear the call from God.”
To find out more about a vocation to priesthood in the Diocese of Parramatta, visit www.parracatholic.org/vocations, contact the Holy Spirit Seminary or Director of Priestly Vocations, Fr John Paul Escarlan – firstname.lastname@example.org.