Deacon Dominique Trinh Do will be ordained a priest for the Nelson Diocese on June 29.


Deacon Dominique Trinh Do will be ordained a priest for the Nelson Diocese on June 29.

June 13, 2016

As Dominque Trinh Do watched the priest serve Mass during his childhood in Vietnam, he realized he wanted to serve the Lord in that way too.

"It's been a long time coming," said the 43-year-old deacon.

Trinh's ordination to the priesthood at St. Pius X Church in Kelowna, B.C., takes place June 29. His father, brother and two nephews are coming from Vietnam to attend the momentous event.

Trinh has been studying at St. Joseph Seminary under the auspices of the Nelson Diocese.

His spiritual journey began decades ago when he and his six brothers and sisters would walk down the road from their rice farm in rural Vietnam to the nearby church for daily Mass.

Trinh is the youngest in the family, "the baby." The pious youngster took part in the various Church activities including being an altar server, singing in the choir and playing the saxophone.

Trinh kept his desire to become a priest secret, just between himself and God.

He knew his parents could not afford high school fees. They were already struggling to pay for the medical care for one of Trinh's brothers who had kidney cancer.

Trinh himself sought work to help pay family bills. He left school and worked alongside Khanh Vu, a Buddhist, in a bean cake factory for five years. Finally, Trinh knew he had to follow his heart and left the factory to continue his studies.

Tears were shed when he finally told his father Dominique Lieu that he wanted to become a priest.

"He was surprised and happy, and he cried," said Trinh. Tears flowed again when Mary, Trinh's mother, heard her youngest son's news.

They already had one priest in the family - Father Dominique Nho, Trinh's uncle. He was ordained in Saigon and, in 1975, he moved to the U.S. and serves the Little Rock Diocese in Arkansas.

As well, Trinh's niece Mary Ngan is a sister in Hanoi.


The resolute young man resumed his studies in 1992, exploring his vocation by attending monthly Come and See meetings. This was backed up by Saturday evening meetings with others for a time of reflection. "We shared the same mission, the same purpose."

He entered the seminary in 1996 and studied theology and philosophy until he moved to the Philippines in 2009. Two years later, he came to Edmonton.

Political barriers in Vietnam would have made it difficult to become a priest there.

Why did he choose Canada?

A friend of his cousin knew Father Peter Tran, chancellor of the St. Paul Diocese, and told Tran of Trinh's desire to become a priest.

"And they (the Nelson Diocese) needed the vocations," added Trinh.

Coming to Canada meant many changes, and they tested the Vietnamese man. Beyond the expected variations in language, food and weather, the major challenge has been people's attitudes.

"People think differently," said Trinh. "But the longer I live here, the more I adapt."

Trinh credits retreats and his mentors, including the seminary's vocation team, for supporting him along the way. But it is God who gets his major thanks.

"God gave me the gift of life, faith and vocation. It is God's grace, the one to respond, the one to guide me guides me to follow Jesus Christ."

Commenting on the length of his journey, Trinh smiled, "It is time for me to serve God and his people."