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Salesian from Annandale makes first profession

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Brother Francis Nguyen of Annandale was one of two men who made their first profession of vows as Salesians of Don Bosco at the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw, N.Y., in August. The other was Brother Paul Hotovy of Omaha, Neb.

Salesian Father Timothy Zak, provincial, received their vows, made for one year in accordance with the Salesian rule. They are members of the Salesians’ New Rochelle Province.

The Mass was concelebrated by 25 priests, mostly Salesians, and attended by family and friends of the of the two newly professed, additional Salesian priests, brothers and a sister, and Salesian Lay Missioners in training.

Brother Francis An Nguyen was born in 1993. He grew up in Annandale and attended Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Church in Arlington with his parents, Vong Nguyen and Vinhsinh Bui. He has two brothers and two sisters.

He first met the Salesians at a cousin’s ordination and spoke with Salesian Father Dominic Tran, vocations director, and Salesians in Maryland. He found inspiration in several priests and religious.

“I wanted to become a Salesian because at the time I was discerning, I was involved with my parish youth group, which I found great joy in being a part of,” he said. “I felt called to live a life dedicated to youth, and felt the Salesians were the place for me, especially after coming and seeing community life.”

On acceptance as a candidate, he joined the formation community in Orange, N.J., in August 2018. The following year, he moved to Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., as a pre-novice. He also assisted with youth ministry (recreation and catechism) at St. John Bosco Church in Port Chester, N.Y.

The two new brothers made their year of novitiate at the Salesian house in Richmond, Calif., under the guidance of Salesians Father Joseph Thinh Nguyen, master of novices, and Father John Puntino, socius. For Brother Nguyen, the best part of his novitiate year was being in person with the students at Salesian College Prep, once they returned to campus for classes. “Those were moments when I was able to get to know them one on one or just play volleyball with a group of them,” he said.

For the immediate future as a Salesian, his “aspirations are to deepen my motivations and continue to be open to the formation process. I aspire to make what ‘Salesian’ means to me a truly personal one.”

After the profession and Mass, he said, “I feel grateful for this and am entrusting all things this day, especially to Mary. I’m excited to be back with my family, begin my consecrated life, and see what God has planned for me.”

Brother Nguyen will join the Salesian formation community in Orange, N.J., to further his formation and continue academic studies (philosophy and theology) at Seton Hall University in South Orange.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021