On Saturday, April 26, Augustine Carrillo and Hiep Nguyen were ordained transitional deacons at St. Meinrad Archabbey church in Southern Indiana. Both men are completing their third year of theological studies and will complete their formation next year and will be ordained to the priesthood in June, 2015.
Augustine, originally from California, spent some time in the seminary several years ago. In fact, he and another of our priests, Fr. Jim Heiser, were in seminary together. Thus, when Fr. Heiser was looking for a new director of religious education a few years ago, he contacted Augustine to ask him to come to Wyoming, which he did. During the time Augustine has spent in this capacity at Holy Name in Sheridan, he not only fell in love with this local portion of God’s People, but also rediscovered his calling to the priesthood.
Hiep came to the Diocese of Cheyenne with two other young men from Vietnam to study for the priesthood. Since that time, one of the three has returned to Vietnam, and the third is completing his college degree. All who have come to know Hiep in his time with us have come to admire his outgoing personality. Hiep will easily attract others to Christ, not only by his natural gifts, but by his deep faith and love for Christ and the People of God.
As we celebrate these two ordinations to the deaconate, let us redouble our prayers for priestly vocations for the Diocese of Cheyenne. Even though we are on track to ordain two new priests this summer, two more next summer, and one the following year, we are sadly not attracting new men to the seminary to take their place.
Every Catholic wants good priests, and most especially, a priest for their parish. My dear people, I share this desire, but also remind all of us that the priests of the future are now your sons and grandsons. Let us not only pray for vocations, but actively encourage young men from our families and parishes to consider a priestly vocation. These vocations must come from our parishes, and they are there. We need only encourage and nurture these vocations, as Pope Francis recently outlined in his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy Of The Gospel:
107. Many places are experiencing a dearth of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. This is often due to a lack of contagious apostolic fervour in communities which results in a cooling of enthusiasm and attractiveness. Wherever there is life, fervour and a desire to bring Christ to others, genuine vocations will arise. Even in parishes where priests are not particularly committed or joyful, the fraternal life and fervour of the community can awaken in the young a desire to consecrate themselves completely to God and to the preaching of the Gospel. This is particularly true if such a living community prays insistently for vocations and courageously proposes to its young people the path of special consecration.