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My full name is Dominic Tuan Khac Anh Do. I was born and raised in a Catholic family in Vietnam. My parents are retired, giving them time to help take care of their grandchildren. I have five siblings, two brothers and three sisters. I am the youngest son in my family. My childhood was blessed with great love from my parents and my siblings.
I followed my mother and my father to church every single day when I was a little boy. My parents were the first people to teach me how to say the rosary and other Catholic prayers. When I was in Vietnam, I happily went to church every day. Those times were great for me because I could listen to the priest teaching about ethics and the love of God. Slowly I felt love for a priest’s life and a priest’s deeds.
Moreover, when I listened to priests teaching in the church and watched movies about God’s life and saints’ lives, I thought and felt that God and Catholicism are perfect. I began loving to study about God and loving to study about the lives of the saints. While studying in Vietnam, I met a priest who told me about the vocation to the priesthood. He said that I was a good man, and I could become a good priest. His observation made me happy and I thought one day I would like to become a priest to serve God and his people.
Observing this priest's life taught me about being a good Catholic, following a holy life and thinking about my dream to become a priest one day in the future. Certain activities also encouraged me to continue to think about the vocation to the priesthood. Participating in charity activities with the nuns from the convent of Mother Teresa of Calcutta enabled me to see the living sacrifice and service of the sisters. I participated in their work of caring, teaching and playing with children 8 to 16 years old. This helped me have a deeper understanding of their love and the love of Christ.
Additionally, visiting the sick and elderly patients in a hospital in Vietnam encouraged me to help others seek the peace God offers them as a gift. I felt very blessed and happy to show the goodness of God to those who need it. Artistically, I learned to work with toothpicks and wooden chopsticks to create models of Christian churches. I have enjoyed creating these works of art, which also help me to use my time constructively.
When I came to the United States several years ago, I still desired to seek a vocation to the priesthood. I like this country so much because it is a land of peace and Americans are very friendly. By the grace of God, I met Deacon Louis Tuyen Do, and he told me a lot about the great people of the Diocese of Little Rock. I am so fortunate to have met Father Jack Vu and Msgr. Scott Friend. I am especially thankful to Bishop Anthony B. Taylor for accepting me and allowing me to pursue this dream of a lifetime. I am grateful to the people of the Diocese of Little Rock for their warm welcome, support and especially their prayers.
Now that I have been a seminarian in Diocese of Little Rock for a while, I am inspired and realize how the diocese has been the biggest support for me in my vocation. Especially, the people that I have met from the diocese who greeted me with kindness and love as they welcome me daily as being their future priest. Because of this, I am so grateful to be here in this diocese and recognize the opportunity to grow my spiritual life and physical life as a seminarian.
Finally, I thank God for all the people of the diocese and their incredible works to support me and my vocation. I truly cannot describe in words my gratitude for this love — the people of the Diocese of Little Rock amaze me. Lastly, over time, I have read many different books and stories about Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, the great Catholic cardinal whose life has had a big effect on my vocation. He was named venerable by Pope Francis because of his significant faith life that led to much suffering for his belief in Jesus Christ. Moreover, his life was always centered on the importance of the Eucharist in his life.
From these studies, I have learned more about how I should be faithful to the Eucharist. As Cardinal Van Thuan believed, our Catholic faith teaches us to believe in Jesus Christ and in the importance of going to church and receiving the Eucharist. From the cardinal's example, I understand that belief in this is the main essence of the Catholic faith and believers. However, I also learned from him that there is no Eucharist without a priest; no priest without a seminarian, and no seminarian without the love, support and prayers of the Catholic people.
Truly, none of this is possible without your grateful love, support and prayers. I understand just how important the people are to my fundamental development of faith and my vocation, and I look forward to following my dream to be a priest so that I can serve all of you. Finally, I could not have come this far on my vocation journey without the great love and big support from my family who taught me about the Catholic faith and helped me grow in the love of God.
If you wish to contact Tuan Do, please e-mail Miriam Gallaher in the Vocations Office or call her at (501) 664-0340. This article was published Sept. 17, 2019. Copyright Diocese of Little Rock. All rights reserved. This article may be copied or redistributed with acknowledgement and permission of the publisher.