Four men, one Canadian-born, two from Vietnam, and one from Trinidad-Tobago, took another step towards the priesthood on June 29. The four were ordained to the transitional diaconate by Archbishop Donald Bolen.
Parker Love was born and raised in Regina, Ricardo Escalante is from Trinidad Tobago, Anthony Tran and Chinh Vu came to Canada from Viet Nam. The four attended St. Joseph’s Seminary in Edmonton prior to their ordination. Tran, Vu, and Love will return to St. Joseph’s for their final year of formation and expect to be ordained priests sometime in the summer of 2019. Escalante is on a different track, said Archbishop Bolen, and he could be ordained earlier than the other three. He is presently completing a PhD degree in Philosophy in Rome.
Vu belonged to a missionary order and was in Philippines when Reverend Rafael Danilo, on one of his visits home, interviewed and recommended Vu to the late Archbishop Daniel Bohan. Vu came to Canada in 2010, Tran arrived in 2014, and both entered St. Joseph’s Seminary. Tran and Vu had attended a seminary in Viet Nam before coming to Canada.
Escalante took up law and practiced as a lawyer for 10 years before moving to Vancouver where he had family. He worked as a Legal Aid with a law firm there. It was then when he heard God’s call to the priesthood. He entered Vancouver’s Christ the King Seminary and from there went to Rome, with the approval of Vancouver’s Archbishop, to study philosophy. Escalante was introduced to Archbishop Bohan through a colleague who thought Escalante would make a good priest for the Regina Archdiocese. He came to Regina and liked what he saw; “The people of Regina and Saskatchewan are seen as people close to the land, which would make it is easier for the Holy Spirit to take root when one is close to nature rather than a bustling metropolis,” he said in an interview, “God works in silence, not in activity.” Regina’s former Archbishop Bohan agreed with Escalante’s request to complete his Doctorate in Philosophy in Rome.
Parker Love’s story is different. He grew up with no religious affiliation and at age 23, he said, “The Holy Spirit” led him to be baptised as a Roman Catholic. Reverend Stephen Bill, Pastor at Resurrection Parish, baptised him and almost immediately he joined the RCIA program to learn about his Christian faith. “Almost from the beginning, I felt the call to be a priest.” He entered St. Joseph’s Seminary in Edmonton in 2012. A year later, in 2013, a mountain bike accident put him in hospital for four months and left him a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair, but he never lost his determination to be a priest. With Archbishop Bohan’s permission, he returned to St. Joseph’s Seminary and then completed a year’s internship at Resurrection Parish.
“Every emotion under the sun I was feeling,” said Love after his ordination to the Transitional Diaconate. “A lot of excitement, anticipation, and just kind of a sea of calm when the Archbishop laid his hands on me” (during the ordination ceremony).