On June 1, Archbishop José H. Gomez will ordain 11 new priests for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

In the days leading up to their ordination, we’ll be introducing a new soon-to-be Father. Los Angeles, meet your new priests!

Age: 29

Hometown: Garden Grove

Home parish: Maria Regina Church, Gardena

Parish assignment: St. Mary of the Assumption Church, Whittier 

Born the only child of Vietnamese immigrant parents in Garden Grove, Anthony Huynh had all the fundamentals of a good Catholic upbringing. He watched his parents sing in the parish choir, went to Catholic school until 8th grade, and even played piano at Mass. 

It was during those years, he realizes now, that the seed of his vocation to the priesthood was quietly planted. 

“It was just always there, but I just never really looked into it,” said Huynh.

What Huynh did know was that he wanted to help people for a living. So after graduating from high school, he pursued a bachelor’s degree in social work at Cal State LA. But during vacation one summer in Vietnam, he crossed paths with an old priest friend of his father’s who was involved in a slightly different kind of social work.

Huynh as a deacon with family after Mass at the shrine at Lourdes, France, in July 2023.

“He was doing ministry in one of those villages way out in the mountains, very poor, with one road in one road out.” Huynh remembered being struck by the simplicity of how he lived. 

“He didn't own a lot of things materially, but just the fact that he was happy with life, doing his priestly ministry, working with the locals in the villages … that kind of sparked curiosity,” recalled Huynh.

That led Huynh to start praying seriously about his future and talk to a priest at his home parish of Maria Regina Church in Gardena, Father Sang Tran. After graduating from Cal State LA in 2017, he decided to enter formation for the Archdiocese of LA. 

One of the key sources of encouragement during discernment was Huynh’s father, who grew up attending a boarding school in Vietnam run by Redemptorist priests. Some of his dad’s classmates went on to become priests themselves. Hearing stories about their lives as priests — not just their joys, but their difficulties, too — spoke to the younger Huynh.

“It just gave me at least that knowledge that if I were to pursue this vocation, there was something good to be had,” remembered Huynh. 

Huynh also found plenty of affirmation in the bonds formed with his seminary classmates. He recalled one trip that several of them took to Mexico, where they attended first Masses for two new LA priests celebrated at the Basilica of Guadalupe. 

“Coming out of that trip, we made a lot of memories together, and that helped carry this momentum into the rest of our formation,” said Huynh. “We’re not just guys who attend class together, but we’re really brothers who are trying to walk together and support each other in our calling to holiness.”

Huynh and a former seminary classmate in the sacristy of the Guadalupe Basilica during a trip to Mexico in 2019.

The similarities between his original career path and the priesthood are not lost on Huynh. Like social work, priestly ministry begins with “meeting people where they’re at,” whether struggling with their faith or carrying the “baggage” of difficulties in life. 

“We’re meeting people who come from these unique environments where there’s a lot of different influences all trying to grab their attention,” said Huynh. “I believe it’s being able to enter into the complexity of their lives and being able to see how God can touch them, and accompany them into the life of God himself.”

Huynh credited a long list of people — family, friends, classmates, and parishioners at places like Our Lady of Loretto Church near downtown, where he spent his parish internship year — with helping him make it this far. All have convinced him that ordinary encounters with people — believers and nonbelievers alike — have a special ability to reveal God’s love. 

“It’s not just something we practice only on Sundays when we’re inside the church,” he said of faith. “It’s a life that continues outside.”