Hung Van Tran

  • Diocese/Religious Community Archdiocese of Hanoi

Degrees Pursuing at Saint Meinrad

  • Master of Divinity

What attracted you to the priesthood?

I witnessed some heroic priests in my life. They suffered both mentally and physically for God and God’s people. But they were very joyful priests, although they sometimes appeared to be not so easy to approach. People loved them and they changed the lives of many people. I first thought of being a priest when I was 13. At that time, I wanted to be like them.


Who or what influenced you to begin study for the priesthood?

When I was about 14, Fr. Joseph Nguyen Van Huu opened a class for young people, both boys and girls, to discern religious vocations. Peter Dinh Xuan Long – who was a close friend of mine – invited me to join the class with him, and I agreed. For one year, each weekend we rode bicycles to the parish where Fr. Huu lived (he lived in a different parish but was in charged of my parish as well). We were taught by him, his associate pastor Fr. Joseph Nguyen Van Lien, and some religious sisters.

We stayed in the rectory with some other boys in the class each weekend after the class time. The next day, we had Sunday Mass in the parish and returned to our parish after Mass. When Fr. Huu moved to a different parish, I did not think of being a priest much. But then when I was in the second year of university, Fr. Joseph Do Huu Thoa heard of my story and encouraged me to continue to discern the priesthood vocation. I entered a school of discernment in my diocese that year and found peace.

Besides these people, my grandmothers and mother were great examples of prayer life for me. My grandfather was also very supportive of my intention of discerning the priesthood. He said, “If you believe that God has called you in this vocation, live it out until death.”


What were you doing before you came to the seminary?

I studied electronic engineering in Hanoi, Vietnam. After I finished the first year of university, I decided to join the class for young men discerning the diocesan priesthood in my diocese in 2012. When I graduated from university in 2016, I took a test to enter seminary and was sent to study abroad, together with seven other diocesan brothers in my diocese.


Favorite saint and why?

Mary, Mother of God. Besides praying with God, I prayed with her often, especially when I first discerned my vocation. I believe that God called me through the intercession of Mary. I often prayed with her when my family faced challenges and difficulties, and she never let me down.

When I was a little boy, I remember that whenever somebody was sick or any trouble occurred in the family, my grandmothers and mother would come to Mary and pray. I believe that I prayed with her often because of their examples.


Favorite Scripture verse and why?

My favorite Scripture has changed throughout the years of my life. Right now it is, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you” (John 15:16 NAB).



Playing soccer, ping-pong and bamboo flute; learning languages; singing (especially church hymns); listening to instrumental music; and watching Wuxia movies (adventure films of sword-wielding chivalrous heroes).


What aspect of seminary life has been most rewarding?

God has been very gracious to me, and I have received more than I asked of Him. I enjoy being in the seminary. And the Saint Meinrad community itself is the best gift that God has given me.


What aspect of seminary life has been most challenging?

Differences between the Vietnamese and American cultures. I also really miss my family at home, and when I finish the seminary training in the U.S., I will have been away from home for 6 ½ years. That is not a short time.


Best advice you’ve heard in seminary?

“God provides. Pray hard, do your best and leave the rest to God.” Sometimes I prayed, “Lord, you brought me here, you should do more. I am tired and I am going to sleep.” This was especially true in the first years at Saint Meinrad.


Other comments?

I am and will always be a son of Saint Meinrad’s seminary formation. I am always grateful for that, and I believe that God has prepared me for this seminary because I first was chosen to be at St. Vincent in Latrobe, PA.

I am thankful to God for the gift of the Saint Meinrad community and the seminary formation; for Fr. Denis, who is like a father to me; Fr. Tobias, who is like a mother to me; Fr. Peter DiMaria, my former spiritual director; Fr. Jonathan Fassero, my current spiritual director; and all fathers, professors, brother monks, all brothers and sisters whom I have encountered. You have left important marks in my life. Please pray for me. Please pray for each other.