I was born in the Southeast Asian country of Viet Nam.
I go by “Father Khoi” because we call each other by our first name in Vietnamese.
I was baptized and given Saint Francis Xavier as my baptismal patron saint. My Confirmation‘s saint is Saint John the Baptist. When I entered the Redemptorist novitiate, I took on the name of the Blessed Mother, Mary, as a part of my Christian name.
When I was young, we had very little as the result of the Viet Nam War, especially under the strict and oppressive post-war Communist rule. By the (unimaginable) grace of God, our family was given the opportunity to immigrate to the United States. We settled in Kansas where most of my father’s side of the family resided at the time. I grew up and went to elementary, middle, and high schools in Wichita. After my high school graduation, I decided to go down to Texas to begin my priestly formation.
I joined the Vietnamese Redemptorists (Extra Patriam Vice-Province of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer) and stayed with them for five years until, under the guidance and encouragement of my Novice Master, I discerned to transition from the religious life to diocesan seminary formation.
I was ordained to the priesthood on June 29, 2013, for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. After years of diocesan ministry as a parish priest, I am now serving our military personnel and their families in the United States Air and Space Forces as an active-duty Catholic Chaplain under the direction of the Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.
I love being a priest.
Is it easy? The answer is no, but the journey is definitely filled with many blessings.
I am in love with Christ. I embrace my vocation, not of my own will or volition, but because He has called me to care, shepherd, and give my life to serve the Church. It is not easy and I pray for the grace of perseverance every day. I put my trust and hope that He, who has called me and the One I love with all my heart, continues to keep me safe and faithful to the mission given at my ordination.
I try to write as a way to pray with a reflection blog. I also podcast my homilies for former parishioners, family, and friends who are living far away. Both of them are named “I Thirst” (John 19:28) after Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata‘s own motto for her life and the Missionaries of Charity sisters. And as you can tell by now, I have a great devotion to the “saint of the slums.” I love her simple and heartfelt charism, which is founded on the love of Christ in the Eucharist and service of the poorest of the poor.
I try to share what I have preached and wrote not as a way to garner attention to myself but to make known the Good News that the Kingdom of God is at hand and we are called to change our lives in conformity to His will. I have always been taught and believe deep within my heart that the one who writes, preaches, or shares with others must be challenged and converted by what comes out of prayers first. What I have shared with you, therefore, is what I have experienced in my own spiritual journey and prayer times.
I am not perfect and still struggle on my journey of faith to seek, love, and give myself totally and completely to Him. The Lord sees and knows the deepest desires of our hearts so we have to be honest and genuine with Him. And, if we truly love Him, we have to share what He has done for us and how He is speaking to us so that others can come to know and love Him as well.
I hope what I have written in my reflections or preached in my homilies might help you in some small ways for your faith journey. Please pray for me as I am for you. I truly believe that prayer is the greatest gift that we can give to one another.
God bless you.
viet nam | united states of america | kansas | texas | congregation of the most holy redeemer | diocese of fort worth | archdiocese for the military services | united states air and space forces | english – español – tiếng việt | may 22, 2012 – june 29, 2013 | holy trinity seminary | st. mary’s seminary | ba – gcsf – ma – mdiv – stb | university of dallas – creighton university – university of st. thomas – st. mary’s seminary and university