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. 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. Saul Alba:
I am Father Saul Alba and I was born and raised in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, where I received an Augustinian education in primary school and graduated from the local Salesian High School. In my early adult years, I did some work in the fields of business and education and even started a career as a civil lawyer in my hometown before answering the call to priesthood. My journey into priesthood began when I joined the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima, where a spiritual advisor encouraged me to enter the local Diocesan Seminary of San Luis Potosi. After two years there, I was invited to continue my studies at Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon and I became an ordained priest for the Diocese of Baker (Oregon) in 2002.
As a priest, I have happily served God and His people through previous work in the Oregon communities of Sacred Heart Parish in Klamath Falls, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Boardman, St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Bend, and most recently St. Mary’s Parish in Hood River. While working for the Diocese of Baker, I was also a Hispanic Vicar for the Central Deanery and an auxiliary to the Diocesan Tribunal and the Diocesan Retreat Center. In addition to Oregon, I have also done pastoral work in my native Mexico, where I earned a Diploma in Canon Law by attending summer programs at the Pontifical University in Mexico City, and in Canada, where I served St. Joseph’s Parish in Langley City, British Columbia.
When I am not involved with pastoral work, some of my hobbies include cooking tasty meals, reading a good book, keeping up with the latest movies, spending time with relatives, and watching NFL games. I am bilingual in English and Spanish and love working with people from different cultural backgrounds because at the end of the day, we all share the same faith as Catholics. With the grace of God and the invitation of the Diocese of Orange, I have come here to serve the community of Fountain Valley and I sincerely look forward to meeting all of you.
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.
Deacon Guillermo was born in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. He and his wife Angela, the love of his life, were married in 1989. Together they have three children, one daughter –Vianney, and two sons –Guillermo and Angel. They also have two granddaughters Melissa and Ava. He was ordained as a Deacon in 2005 by Bishop Tod D. Brown. For the past 11 years, Deacon Guillermo has served as Director of the Office for Hispanic Ministry of the Diocese of Orange, President of the Executive Committee RECOSS (Regional Directors of Hispanic Ministry from California, Nevada, and Hawaii), and National Episcopal Mediator of the Lay Association of Jovenes Para Cristo. Deacon Guillermo holds a B.S. in Environmental Chemistry and an M.A. in Pastoral Theology from Loyola Marymount University. He served as Deacon in Parishes like St. Callistus (now known as Christ Cathedral) and Our Lady of La Vang. His simple and humble upbringing has taught and inspired him to be a vehicle to give voices to those who don’t have a voice and hope to those who seek Christ’s love and mercy. Please join me in welcoming Deacon Guillermo.