Fr. Matthew Nguyen was born and raised in Da Nang city, South Vietnam, the fourth of seven children. He began his long journey to the priesthood there when he entered St. John Junior Seminary in Da Nang at age 11.
After his seminary was closed by the Communists in 1980, he attended seminary underground. When it became clear he would never be ordained in his own country, he tried to escape seven times and almost died in a small boat adrift on the Pacific Ocean before being rescued by the Malaysian navy.
After a year in Pulau Bidong refugee camp, Malaysia, he was sponsored by the Canadian government and arrived in Vancouver in May 1989. He took English classes, work at several jobs, and then studies in seminaries in Mission, B.C. Ottawa and Oregon, USA before finally being ordained priest for Prince Albert Diocese by Bishop Blaise Morand on May 19, 2000. His first assignment was in Wakaw on September 2, 2000. (Therese Jelinski for the Daily Herald May 2000)
Fr. Matthew has his family in Vietnam, Canada and the United States of America. Back in Vietnam is where his mother, one sister and two brothers reside. In Canada he has two sisters – one residing in Victoria, B.C. and one in Toronto, ON. And his youngest sister is in San Jose, CA, USA. (Pat Balon for Wakaw Recorder October 2000.) His father passed away in 2016.
Having left Wakaw’s pastoral zone, he was assigned to serve parishes in Prince Albert from August 1, 2014 to August 6, 2018. Then he was assigned back to Bellevue, Wakaw, Batoche, Bonne Madone and Tarnopol on August 7, 2018.
The following is Fr. Matthew’s spiritual journey: living, education, ordination, pastoral ministries and other services (Prince Albert Archive):
I. Education - Living
2) Malaysian Refugee Camp
- 1973 Kindergarten – Grade 5 Sacred Heart School, Da Nang, Vietnam
- 1973 – 1977 Grade 6 - 9 St. John’s Junior Seminary of St. John, Da Nang Diocese, Vietnam
- 1978 – 1980 Grade 10 – 12 Public & Home School, Phuoc Hoa Village, Tan Thanh District, Dong Nai Province, Vietnam
- 1980 – 1988 Philosophy & Theology Underground Programs – Archdiocese of Saigon & Diocese of Xuan Loc.
3) Canada & United States of America
- May 13, 1988 Escaped by boat from Vietnam and was rescued by Malaysian Navy
- May 29, 1988 – May 22, 1988 lived in Refugee Camp, Pulau Bidong Island, Malaysia.
II. Minor Orders & Ordinations
- May 24, 1989 Arrived in Vancouver International Airport, BC, Canada
- July 1, 1989 – June 30, 1991 English as Second Language (ESL), King Edward College and The Test for Foreign Language Students (TOFEL), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
- July 1989 – June 1991 Worked as cabinetmaker at Hertco Kitchens Ltd, Delta, B.C.
- August 28, 1991 – May 2, 1993 College & Philosophy Programs, Christ the King Seminary, Mission, B.C.
- Sep 4, 1993 – December 18, 1995 Dominican College University, Ottawa, Graduated from Philosophy program.
- Degree: Bachelor of Arts Major in Philosophy (B.A. Ph)
- January 3, 1995 – May 6, 2000 Theology program and Further Studies at Mount Angel seminary at Mount Angel, Oregon, USA
- Degree: Master of Arts (Theology) (1998); Master of Divinity (2000)
III. Pastoral Trainings
- Lector February 1, 1996 Mt. Angel seminary, Oregon, US
- Acolyte February 27, 1997 Mt. Angel seminary, Oregon, US
- Candidacy October 16, 1997 Mt. Angel seminary, Oregon, US
- Deacon January 15, 1999 St. Jean Baptiste Parish, Debden, SK
- Priest May 19, 2000 Sacred Heart Cathedral, PA, SK.
IV. Priestly Ministries and Other Appointments
- May – August 1993 – 1995 Summer pastoral parish assignment - St. Joseph parish, Prince Albert.
- July 5 – 20, 1993 Summer pastoral parish assignment - St. Louis parish, St. Louis, Ste. Jeanne D’Arc parish, Doremy and St. Isidore parish, Bellevue
- May – August 1996 Summer pastoral parish assignment - St. Michael parish, PA & St. James parish, Albertville
- May – July 1997 Clinical Pastoral Education - St. Paul’s Hospital, Royal University Hospital, City Hospital & Hill Top Tower Care Home, Saskatoon.
- May 5, 1998 – August 25, 1999 Pastoral Internship - St. Jean Baptiste parish, Debden; Our Lady of Scared Heart parish, Big River; Notre Dame des Victoire, Victoire; Sacred Heart parish, Whitefish Reserve.
- August 1, 2000 – July 29, 2001 Assistant Pastor: St. Theresa Shrine, Wakaw; St. Louis parish, St. Louis; Ste. Jeanne D’Arc parish, Doremy; St. Isidore parish, Bellevue; Holy Trinity parish, Alvena; Crystal Springs, Blessed Virgin Mary parish, Bonne Madone, Sacred Heart of Jesus parish, Tarnopol, St. Bernadette parish, One Arrow Reserve.
- October 1, 2000 – July 31, 2004 Dean of Wakaw Deanery
- August 1, 2001 – July 31, 2004 Pastor: St. Theresa Shrine, Wakaw; St. Louis parish, St. Louis; Ste. Jeanne D’Arc parish, Doremy; Holy Trinity parish, Alvena, Crystal Springs; Bonne Madone; Sacred Heart of Jesus, Tarnopol; St. Bernadette, One Arrow Reserve.
- August 1, 2000 – July 31, 2004 Priests’ Anniversary Coordinator
- August 1, 2001 – July 31, 2012 Diocesan Vocation Director
- August 1, 2004 – July 31, 2011 Pastor: St. Joseph parish, Prince Albert
- August 1, 2004 – July 31, 2008 St. Laurent Society member
- August 1, 2005 – July 31, 2010 Member of College of Consulters
- August 1, 2006 – July 31, 2009 Dean, Prince Albert Deanery
- October 15, 2010 - October 15, 2015 Member of College of Consulters
- September 10, 2009 - September 14, 2014 Dean, Prince Albert Deanery
- August 1, 2011 – August 6, 2018 Rector: Sacred Heart Cathedral
- November 14, 2014- July 31, 2017 Adult Faith Formation Interim Director
- September 30, 2015 – November 15, 2015 Ad Interim Vicar General
- September 13, 2016 – August 6, 2018 Dean, Prince Albert Deanery
- September 5, 2018 until now Dean, Deanery 3
- September 6, 2018 until now President of St. Laurent Society
Submitted by Fr. Matthew Nguyen based on “Diocese ordains priest” by Therese Jelinski (The Daily Herald), “New Parish Priest” by Pat Balon (Wakaw Recorder) and Prince Albert Diocesan Archive.
August 7, 2018 until now Pastor: St. Theresa Shrine, Wakaw; St. Isidore, Bellevue; St. Bernadette parish, One Arrow Reserve; Bonne Madone, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Tarnopol.