Today, I’ll be giving you a very special interview. This time, I interviewed my parish priest, Father Mike Tran. He is the priest for the Our Lady of the Nativity in Raceland, Louisiana.
1. Were you born in Vietnam or are you an immigrant?
I was born in Vietnam in 1974. At the age of seven, my mom with my brother and my sisters reunited with my dad in Richmond, Virginia in 1981. My father fought during the Vietnam War with the Americans and left with them when the fall of Saigon in 1975. My parents and grandparents were devoted Catholics and I was brought up in the faith. As a child, I was always involved in my faith and served as an altar server.
2. Why did you decide to become a priest?
The thought of serving people and a desire to be closer to God was always on my heart. That was what made me drawn to become a priest. Study to become a priest was not easy, because people always ask; “Why a normal person like you want to become a priest?” The challenge of not having a family was always questioned and celibacy was a requirement to become a priest. I have always believed that everything has a sacrifice. You have to give up something to gain something, as Christ taught us and, I also found that to be true in my life. Giving up family and being celibate to be a priest was as difficult.
3. Is there anyone in your life who makes you want to be a better person? Who influences your mission?
There are people along my life that guided me and helped along my vocation. I was influenced by teachers, religious and priests. They helped me to discern what God was calling me to do in my life and to follow those callings. I was always happy with my life and my life journey and that’s how I knew the priesthood was for me. There were people in our time that influenced me. Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa of Calcutta are both saints that I feel so much connected to. These are real people our my century that are actually living out their callings. To serve people and to do it well, especially the poor and the needy.
4. Who is your favorite Biblical figure besides Jesus?
Besides Jesus, I think St. Paul in the bible is most admiring to me. Paul was a convert and when he received his faith. He was not afraid but impacted and changed the people he encountered. That is what I hope to do in my life as a priest. My favorite passage in the Bible is from Mark 10:45, “did not come to be served but to serve”. I took this quote as a motto for my ordination and priesthood.
5. What advice would you give to anyone else who is interested in becoming a priest?
To anyone that wants to become a priest. I say follow your heart. How do you know that this is your calling? If it makes you happy and you find peace and joy in it but, most of all it bring you satisfaction!