Fateful homecoming amplified the call: Profile of Father Paul Chu, S.D.B.

It was bound to be emotional when Paul Chu returned to Vietnam in his 20s after leaving as a 9-year-old. But he didn’t know it would set him on his life’s course. During an eight-day family trip to Vietnam in 2006, Chu encountered a Salesian priest who made him think: I want to be like that! Priesthood had been at the back of his mind, but that meeting triggered him to act. Today, true to the Salesian mission to work with youth, Chu ticks off 15 ways he’s ministered with young people since entering his community, from leading summer camps to organizing mission trips to Haiti. “The life of total self-giving is ever attractive to me,” he says.

Father Paul Chu, S.D.B.

(Photo: Joe Gigli)

What first drew you to religious life?

I am not sure of the first moment, but I can remember a few powerful religious moments during my college years that oriented me toward religious life.

How has your family responded to your vocation?

My family has been very supportive. Both my father’s and mother’s families were strongly Catholic with priests, nuns, and at least one martyr in the family tree.

What have you enjoyed in your ministry experiences?

I enjoy working with lay teachers, staff, and students to organize events for our school community here at Don Bosco Prep [in Ramsey, New Jersey]. My most memorable experiences have been ministering in summer camps in various U.S. states and working in Palestine with Arab youth and young adults.

What do you do for fun?

I like to fix IT problems, play board games and cards, read, and have good conversations.

Your favorite way to pray?

Silent meditation.

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had with your community?

I had a blast organizing and participating in a city-wide scavenger hunt with my community in Jerusalem. We shared a lot of holy joy with pilgrims and tourists, praying, talking, and taking group-selfies.

Any words of wisdom for those considering religious life?

Be not afraid! Embrace it with your whole being and you will experience many blessings and rewards that the world cannot give.




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