Our Pastor, Fr. Hao Dinh
I was ordained a priest by the late Bishop Pierre DuMaine in 1993 and have been in priestly ministry in our Diocese for 26 years. Aside from my ministry in Ascension Parish I am also vicar general in the Diocesan Curia, assisting Bishop Cantú in his ministry to our Diocese.
I was born in Bien Hoa and grew up in Saigon, Vietnam. I am the youngest in a family of three girls and three boys. My parents passed away in San Jose, and one of my sisters died in Vietnam when she was about a month old. Half of my siblings live in San Jose, others reside in Calgary, Canada.
My journey to the priesthood began 50 years ago in 1969 when I entered St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary in Saigon. It was on July 26, ten days after the historic moon landing! Setting foot in the seminary is not comparable to that event, but it was hugely significant to me and my classmates, 68 in total. We were between 11 and 13 years old, leaving home with a desire to prepare ourselves for the priesthood. Little did we know that the journey would take much longer than expected. It was because of the fall of Saigon in 1975, which brought an end to a war but started an upheaval in South Vietnam and persecution of the Church. The war was over, but we kept praying for true peace - with justice.
As a result, our formation was disrupted and many of us left the seminary. Those who continued were facing suspicion and scrutiny from the new government, which placed restrictions on the student admission and formation. The seminary was shut down again in 1982 when I nearly finished my theology studies. Then joining my parents and two brothers, I left Vietnam in 1985 through the orderly departure program and settled in Calgary. In 1988 I was admitted to St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park and was eventually ordained for the Diocese of San Jose in 1993, exactly 24 years after passing the entrance examination at the seminary in Vietnam on May 15, 1969.
When I began my journey in 1969, I could never imagine becoming a priest in San Jose, and now serving this Parish and this Diocese. It’s a journey that had many twists and turns and took much longer than expected, from Saigon to San Jose, from 1969 to 1993. It’s truly an adventure, and it’s more exciting than landing on the moon.
Introducing Father Rey
I am Fr. Reynaldo Pineda Sarmiento, born and raised in the Philippines; I have been a priest for five years now. I am the youngest of five and the only boy in the family. I studied in a Dominican school for my elementary and high schools and I have a Business Management Degree from a College run by the Benedictines. After college I worked in the hotel and restaurant industry for fifteen years. Part of my hotel assignments were in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines. I was a manager for TGI Friday’s in the Philippines and for a cinnamon shop, part of a Canadian franchise. I was also a free-lance consultant for human resources.
By the grace of God, after working for 15 years in the hospitality industry, I joined the diocese of San Jose to become a seminarian. For seven years I studied Philosophy & Sacred Theology at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park under the Sulpician priests.
Eventually, I was ordained by Bishop Emeritus Patrick McGrath on June 7, 2014. My first parish assignment was at Queen of Apostles Parish where I served as parochial vicar for five years. The Church of the Ascension is only my second parish assignment. I am blessed, excited and looking forward to serving the community and to working with the parish staff and Fr. Hao Dinh. Please feel free to visit me in the parish office for a chat or for any services that I may be of help.