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Meet Your Seminarians: Dcn. Tommy Ngo

Dcn. Tommy Ngo reflects on the ‘Culture of Love’ he has experienced in the seminary.

by Dcn. Tommy Ngo

I would never imagine asking God a simple question would change my life, but for the last five years it has. During my discernment weekend a little more than five years ago, I was honest with the Lord. I told him that I do not like to pray and that he should help me in this area if he wants me to be a priest. All of a sudden, I felt something in my heart, and I have been following it ever since.

Initially, I kept praying because it felt good, but I slowly realized that what I felt was his love for me. From that point on, I no longer felt depressed because I knew the purpose of life—for Jesus loves me and is with me every moment of my life. I finally found what I have been looking for, even though I never knew that I was looking for it. My life since that point, along with the seminary’s formation, has been a great journey to explore this miraculous love.

My journey here at Sacred Heart has been one of learning to trust in the Lord. Literally everything I have to do as a seminarian is either something that I am not good at or something that I do not like to do. For instance, I am not good at public speaking, reading philosophical texts, or writing papers. Back in college, I purposely chose to study biochemistry so that I could avoid writing a lot. However, the Lord has shown me that he does not need someone who is qualified for the job but someone who is willing to be formed. This daily trust in his power has not been disappointing. He has helped me in every step, and being able to see that has been a great blessing because I realize I am not alone. Jesus is really alive, and he is really with us just like he promised, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20)

What I have experienced in the seminary is a culture of love. I have always been astonished by the way people here live and treat each other. I am in a racial minority group, but I have never felt like an outcast at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. It is different from being treated nicely. It is a love that can only come from Jesus, from the belief that each person is a son or daughter of God. Sacred Heart is a representation of a good Christian community, one that represents our heavenly kingdom. The priests, seminarians, and staff here try to live their best to build up this kingdom out of love for Jesus. For instance, we help each other in carrying one another’s burdens. We forebear each other’s weaknesses. We share our knowledge freely with a desire to help each other to grow, and we share each other’s joy. It is a sharing that can only be rooted in God’s infinite love and his inexpressible generosity. Living here and seeing the culture of this seminary encourages me to bring this culture into the world, particularly to the communities that I am going to serve. 

This journey has been a heart-stretching one. It is a never-ending transformation of my stony heart into Jesus’s tender Sacred Heart. This transformation brings a new radical identity allowing me to be in the world but not conform to the world.  I can tell the world that God’s love is more powerful than any suffering and sin. The love of Jesus gives us hope in everything we do.

Lastly, I want to encourage young men who have had or are having thoughts of becoming a priest. From what I have experienced, I really urge you to not be afraid because it is going to be a great journey, for the Lord is and will be walking with you every step of the way. Trust in his deep and everlasting love for you personally.  

by Dcn. Tommy Ngo

Dcn. Tommy Ngo

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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.