Dcn. Paul Phong Hoang, S.C.J., gives thanks at the end of his ordination ceremony Dec. 9 at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. (Submitted photos)

On Saturday, Dec. 9, Dcn. Paul Phong Hoang, S.C.J., was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Donald J. Hying, bishop of the Diocese of Madison. The ordination took place at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, where just days earlier Dcn. Hoang completed his master’s in divinity studies.

Dcn. Hoang, 31, is a member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) and ministered at St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin while studying at SHSST.

Originally from Vietnam, Dcn. Hoang’s family immigrated to the United States in 2007 and settled in Houston. Before pursuing his vocation to religious life, Dcn. Hoang earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Houston.

In 2016, he began studies with the Priests of the Sacred Heart and professed his first vows in 2018. Dcn. Hoang did his pastoral year in South Dakota. Besides St. Martin of Tours, he has volunteered at the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care in Milwaukee, Dismas Ministry, juvenile jail visitation and Catholic Charities. This year in particular has been a busy one. Dcn. Hoang made his perpetual profession of vows in May and did cross-cultural studies in Ecuador before returning to SHSST for his final semester of seminary studies.

Following his ordination, Dcn. Hoang will serve with the pastoral team in northern Mississippi.

“I look forward to learning the basics of priesthood in parish settings, applying the training I received from the seminary, and get experience in how to live my vocation as a Dehonian in active ministry,” said Dcn. Hoang. “It is important for me to gradually transition into my new role as deacon; that means being more attentive toward the liturgy, preaching, serving at Mass, and most importantly, living authentically to my vocation as future priest.”

When Dcn. Hoang was asked if he has advice for young people considering a vocational call, he said that “despite our unworthiness, if God calls us, he will take care of us. There were many moments in my journey during formation that God either steered me in a certain direction or sent people to assist me in difficult times.

“Take courage and cooperate with his grace, respond to his invitation.”