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Home WHO WE ARE Assumptionists Profiles Fr. VO TRAN GIA DINH, A.A.



Worcester, March 2010

Interviewer - As an Assumptionist brother, born in Vietnam, would you share with us some of your family's background and how you came to know the Augustinians of the Assumption?

Bro. Dinh - Yes, though I was born in Vietnam where my mother was a teacher.  Both of my parents are retired and have lived in Austrailia since 1980.  My older sister is a SND in Kenya while my younger sister is married and has 2 boys ages 7 and 4. In 1989 I went to the diocesan seminary in Vietnam and was sent to the Philippines and where I met the Assumptionists.

- Where did your formation in the congregation and subsequent studies take you from there?

- My formation in the community began in the US in 2002 when I was sent to Worcester.Then in August of 2005 I began my novitiate at St. Anne's -St. Patrick's in Sturbridge, MA. In 2008 I received a Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA. While living at the Assumptionist Center in Brighton, MA I also did six weeks of intensive English language studies and had worked with a Vietnamese community in the area. Following my years of studies, I returned to Emmanuel House in Worcester and Assumption College where I began my ministry as a campus minister.

- What have been some of your experiences as a campus minister at Assumption College?

- We, as a campus ministry office, are here to serve the total college community. In order to do that effectively, we model what it means to reach  out first to each other, recognizing the goodness and gifts of all. We are an office of six people: a director, an assistant director, two campus ministers, one office support person and a music minister. We are lay men and women, as well as religious and clergy. We minister out of our baptismal call, our rich diversity and different perspectives of living the christian life in the Church. In the spirit of Fr. d'Alzon, I am particularly aware of the spiritual richness and beauty of how the lay members minister to one another. As a result of God's grace and our working together, I also see how the students grow in their faith and knowledge during their four years at the college.

- What are some of your other interests and hobbies?

- I enjoy all sports really, especially swimming, tennis and chess, but not for the competition, only for the fun and benefits they provide. I regularly love to walk in the woods early in the day. There I connect with the harmony found in nature which has its roots in eastern philosophy. In the course on "Asian Tradition," I share my cultural roots in Taoism and Buddhism with the students. This influence is strong in my life because before becoming a Catholic, my father was a Buddhist.

- How has this rich heritage continued to influence your spirituality?

- Because I am enriched by my eastern culture, my focus is on relationships, first and foremost with Jesus who established a community. That hunger for God is at the heart of all human beings. For us, time is secondary at best, to this need for relational connectedness. I am known among my brother Assumptionists, with whom I most enjoy sharing my life experiences and stories, as the "bamboo theologian."

- What are some of the other unique gifts and perspectives that you bring to your community and the people with whom and to whom you minister?

- Some people find it interesting that I eat by colors, maybe because I am an artist at heart, that is, painting oil on canvas. I love beauty in all its forms. My subjects vary as I express my ideas in color. I enjoy the change of seasons here in New England, especially the colorful months of May through October. In winter I appreciate the softness of snow.

- What are your future plans as an Assumptionist and campus minister?

- After my ordination to the diaconate in June, I will be doing parish work at St. Anne's - St. Patrick's Parish in Sturbridge, MA. That assignment will be interrupted in July when I will be attending the Assumptionist Religious Dialogue in Brazil. It will be the fifth international meeting for dialogue. At the end of August, I will return to Worcester and prepare for the next academic year of campus ministry at the college.

- What is your vision and /or hopes for the future of the congregation and/or the Church in the light of this year's "Bicentennial Celebration of the Birth of Fr. d'Alzon?"

- My vision is the hope that Fr. d'Alzon's spirit of engagement in the world may continue to grow and keep moving forward for the common good, We work for the coming of the Kingdom. My favorite scripture quote is Hebrews 5:8, "Son of God... obedient from what he suffered." We do our best. The rest is up to God.


Since this interview was conducted, Fr. Dinh, A.A. was ordained a priest on April 2, 2011 in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Assumption College in Worcester, MA.

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