Meet Our Priests & Deacon
Father Joseph Thuong Tran was born in Saigon, Vietnam, on May 28. He began his spiritual calling as an altar server at an early age. Along with millions of Vietnamese refugees, Fr. Joseph and his family arrived in the US in 1985. He attended seminary school in Wisconsin, Iowa and completed his priesthood education at Mount Angel Seminary, Oregon. Fr. Joseph was ordained on June 11, 2005 and has served at parishes for St. Norbert, Holy Family Cathedral, St. Callistus (now Christ Cathedral), and St. Polycarp. Please keep Fr. Joseph in your prayers as he continues to serve our Lord at our Parish.
Fr. Daniel Wilder was born on July 18, 1966 in Watertown, New York. He is one of six children (four sisters and a twin brother) and is the proud uncle of twenty-eight nieces and nephews. Fr. Wilder’s love for the outdoors, mountain climbing, summer/winter sports, and scenic/wildlife photography has its origin growing up in the picturesque, historic village of Saranac Lake, nestled in the inspiring Adirondack Mountains of New York State. After graduating from Saranac Lake Central High School in 1984 he began his study of philosophy at Wadhams Hall Seminary College (Ogdensburg, NY) where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree. His requisite graduate studies in theology to obtain a Master of Divinity degree were completed at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary (Emmitsburg, MD), after which Fr. Wilder was ordained to the holy priesthood for the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, IL on May 25, 1996.
Fr. Wilder has been involved with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal since the age of thirteen. His love for music and guitar are rooted in the faith-filled prayer groups he encountered within the Renewal. Since that time, Fr. Wilder has formed worship bands in nearly every pastoral assignment. He has led many pilgrimages to Catholic Shrines throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. His recent pilgrimages have focused solely on the Holy Land.
Starting June, 2011, Fr. Wilder – with the full support of his local ordinary, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C – served as a full time diocesan missionary. Fr. Wilder’s pastoral duties as a missionary have focused on the ministry of prayer, evangelization, healing and deliverance. His treks have taken him to diversified lands, people and cultures: El Salvador, Mexico, Hawaii, India, Uganda, Ghana, England, Canada, Guatemala, Israel, Venezuela, Kenya, Italy, Malta, Ireland and beyond.
Fr. Joseph Son Nguyen has come full circle. His first parish assignment is Holy Spirit Church, where established the Vietnamese Community in 1989. From 1992-2004, he served the parishes of St. Boniface in Anaheim, St. Nicholas in Laguna Woods, St. Anthony’s in Oakland, St. Mary’s in Fullerton, and St. Irenaeus in Cypress. He became the final pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in 2004, then the founding pastor of Our Lady of La Vang Church in 2006. Fr. Joseph now teaches medical ethics while serving as the chaplain at UC Irvine Health & School of Medicine. Also, he serves the Diocese of Orange as Health Care Liaison, Censor Librorum, and Dean.
Fr. Joseph Son was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Orange in 1989. He graduated Valedictorian from La Quinta HS in 1981; then went on to receive a BA in Liberal Studies (Philosophy, Psychology & Music) from St. John’s College; a MDiv & MA in Religion from St. John’s Seminary; and a Doctoral STD in Moral Theology and Bio-Medical Ethics from Santa Clara University’s Jesuit School of Theology. He continued post doctoral studies in pastoral care at St. Joseph’s, and became a Board Certified chaplain & spiritual director.
Fr. Joseph is fond of nature and loves life. He enjoys the visual arts; plays musical instruments; and studies languages. Fr. Joseph likes to keeps busy. Along the way, he has been a musician, a photographer, an artist, a newsletter editor, a machinist, a city yard worker, and a Chamber of Commerce assistant. Of course, there is nothing he loves more than to be a priest of Christ, serving God’s people.
Fr. Damien Giap (School Chaplain) is a Norbertine Priest from St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado Canyon (near Lake Forest). He graduated from Cypress High School and attended the University of California, Irvine, and earned a B.S. in Biology. In 1997 he entered St. Michael's Abbey and studied at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome where he completed a Master's degree in Sacred Theology. Fr. Damien was ordained a priest in 2007 and is the chaplain at JSerra H.S. and St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel.
Fr. Thomas was born in Central Vietnam and grew up in South Vietnam. His vocation began at the tender age of 11 when he entered a Cistercian Junior Seminary. Although he graduated from the University of Saigon in Philosophy and Theology in 1979, Fr. Thomas was unable to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders due to the communist regime. In fact, he was imprisoned because of his priestly vocation.
Fr. Thomas escaped Vietnam to Rome with sponsorship from the Holy See at the end of 1980. On June 6, 1982, he was ordained by Pope Saint John Paul II at St. Peter’s Basilica. Fr. Thomas continued his studies and received a doctorate degree in Dogmatic Theology and a licentiate in Philosophy. The warm weather of Southern California brought him to the Diocese of Orange in 1998. We are pleased and honored that he is now part of the Holy Spirit Church Family. Please welcome him as he carries out his pastoral duties and the priestly mission entrusted to him by Our Lord and Bishop Vann.
Deacon Phil Goodman was ordained a deacon in April 2005, and joyfully serves the Holy Spirit Catholic community in Fountain Valley. He retired from the aerospace industry with 37 years of service to take over as Director of the Catholic Detention Ministry. He and his staff of five oversee the training and activities of over 300 volunteers serving the spiritual needs of Catholic inmates in juvenile facilities and adult jails throughout Orange County. Phil was a founding member of Holy Spirit's Vocation Awareness Program. He has also been active in the Stephen Ministry, has been an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and a lector. Phil participates in the Kairos prison ministry and the Deanery 5 Peace and Justice group. He and his wife Pat have organized groups of young people to serve meals at the Catholic Worker hospitality house in Santa Ana. They are active in many social justice causes throughout Orange County.
Deacon Paul Manh Mai was ordained on May 21, 2011 by Bishop Tod D. Brown. Deacon Paul was a mortgage broker 20 years. He and his wife, Huong, have four children. Deacon Paul is currently helping with our parish canonical services which include annulment and marriage related issues. Paul is also in charged of Vietnamese RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and infant baptism. He serves as a Marriage Preparation Coordinator at the Vietnamese Catholic Center.