Newly professed Hoang Huy Nguyen describes novitiate life as transformative

On July 29, two men professed vows at Techny, headquarters of the Society of the Divine Word-Chicago Province. We present Hoang Huy Nguyen SVD.
Hometown: Vung Tau, Vietnam
Age: 23
Languages: Vietnamese and English
Ministries during novitiate: Tutoring at the Holy Spirit Life Learning Center, preparing food for the hungry at the restaurant Pho Tam, and accompanying retired Divine Word Missionaries. 
Favorite book: “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
When was a time that you felt God’s presence?
In one extraordinary day, I could have a series of experiences that undeniably put me in touch with the presence of God—when I help someone by opening the door in the morning, offer assistance to someone at the checkout, give someone pocket change that they need, and willingly change my parking spot to accommodate a person with a disability.
These seemingly small gestures can all happen in one day and take on profound significance as they reflect the essence of God's love and grace. In these moments, I feel a deep connection to something greater than myself, and I am reminded that the Divine presence resides in the kindness and selflessness we show to others. Encountering God through these acts reaffirms my belief in the power of love and compels me to continue seeking opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of those around me.
When did you first feel the call to be a missionary?
During my Come and See visit at Divine Word College. The community I saw at the time was vibrant with activity and friendliness. I visited during an event called Mission Sunday, a special celebration where students prepared a multicultural Mass and feast to welcome visitors. While I had enjoyed the celebration, what really touched me was the interaction between everyone within the community. They were very enthusiastic and united in working with one another even though they come from such diverse cultural backgrounds.
How has living with the SVD brothers and priests at Techny inspired you?
Living with the SVD brothers and priest has been a transformative and profoundly inspiring experience that has shaped my spiritual journey in ways I could have never imagined. The presence of these devoted individuals in my life has not only enriched my understanding of faith but also instilled within me a deeper sense of purpose and connection to the Divine.
Living alongside these SVDs has allowed me to witness firsthand the sincerity and authenticity of their commitment to serving others and living in accordance with their beliefs. Their unwavering faith became a guiding light for my own spiritual exploration, leading me to reflect on the values and principles that are truly important to me.
What was the biggest challenge during this past year?
The biggest challenge for me this year was definitely a more quiet lifestyle, which was a drastic change from when I was studying as a student at Divine Word College. Switching from a busy lifestyle to a peaceful one was tough for me. I was used to constant activity, and societal pressure made it harder to slow down. Despite the difficulties encountered, the journey towards a more peaceful life has been profoundly rewarding, offering a renewed sense of self-awareness, inner calm and a deeper connection to God. 
What are your hopes for the coming year? 
I look forward to my time at Catholic Theological Union (CTU), where I will have the opportunity to reunite with old acquaintances. Moreover, I am optimistic about embracing the demanding academic environment and utilizing it as a platform for personal growth and development. My hope is to adapt to the busy lifestyle at CTU and engage in continuous learning and self-improvement.
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