ROCK HILL—Oratorian Deacon Paul Nguyen smiled broadly and offered three simple words to describe his recent ordination: “It’s a blessing!”
He was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone at The Oratory in Rock Hill on May 26, the feast day of St. Philip Neri, the Italian patron saint who founded the Oratory in Rome.
Deacon Nguyen’s parents traveled from their Massachusetts home for the event, which was also attended by Oratorian priests and brothers.
The rest of the seats in the Oratory’s church were filled with friends and well-wishers from Rock Hillparishes and the Vietnamese community.
“You, Paul, are one of the chosen who are called to witness by your life,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “Realize the ministry is not about you but about Jesus Christ. Fill your ministry with competence and joy.”
The bishop thanked the deacon’s family and friends for supporting him.
“Only God can plant the seed of a vocation, and it will only germinate if people help nurture it,” he said. “Deacon Paul’s vocation is still a young plant.
He has another major step in his journey, and he needs affirmation and mostly prayer.”
Deacon Nguyen came to the United States from Vietnam with his parents when he was 16. He grew up in the Northeast and earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University in Boston.
Since arriving in Rock Hill in 2006, Deacon Nguyen has worked in several local parishes. Members who attended his ordination said he shows God’s love through his kindness, his smile and a caring attitude.
Kathy Cahill, who attends Our Lady of Grace Mission in the Indian Land community, recalled how Deacon Nguyen came to her house to visit her husband while he was ill.
“He really helped my husband because he had so much love and compassion,” she said. “He also has been so kind to my mother, who is 95 years old. I think he’ll be a wonderful priest.”
Deacon Nguyen will spend the summer at Divine Saviour Church in York, where he will lead marriage preparation classes and help where he is needed. In the fall, he will return to Houston to complete his final year at St. Mary’s Seminary.