Name: Fr. Joseph Van Phung
Years ordained: Nine
Current assignment: Pastor, St. Alphonsus Parish, Mount Pleasant
How did you know you were being called to priesthood?
When I was about to finish fifth grade my sister asked me if I wanted to be a priest. I thought about it, tried it, and fell in love with seminary life after my first year at the diocesan seminary of Hoan Thien, Hue, Vietnam. My priestly vocation was later shaken and strengthened through the political crisis of my country, the Church in Vietnam and my personal incidents such as the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, the closure of the seminary in 1979, then the escape from my country in 1991. Praise the Lord!
Aside from your ordination Mass, what was your most memorable Mass?
My heart was filled with joy and gratitude at the Thanksgiving Mass at my hometown after my ordination. More than 20 friends/ brother priests joined me at the Mass with my family, relatives, friends and parishioners. They have been inspirational and supportive for my priestly vocation. Also, it was a tremendous joy and honor for me to give holy Communion and a blessing to my grandmother, my mother, my aunts, siblings and others at my first Thanksgiving Mass at the village.
What is most rewarding about being a priest?
It’s being able to say Mass and administer the sacraments. Also, it is rewarding to walk with God’s people, share their journey of faith, listen to their stories, and see God’s wonderful work in his people and the Church.
What is most challenging about being a priest?
Being on top of the daily schedule and reaching out to various groups of parishioners.
What is your favorite Scripture passage?
There are many Scripture passages connected with significant events of my life. I like them and frequently reflect on them. These are but a few:
“And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.” (Luke 2:76). “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.” (Phil. 4:13). “Let the peace of Christ control our hearts, the peace in to which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.” (Col. 4:15).
What is your hobby?
I like fishing, sightseeing and outdoor activities, visiting friends, listening to music.