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Apollo Nguyen

Faith 'From Your Head to Your Heart'

Engineer Goes Back to School for Ministry

Date Published: Aug. 30, 2017

Apollo Nguyen

For Apollo Nguyen the path to deeper faith started with his wife.

He remembers being surprised when she mentioned going to daily Mass. Until then, he hadn’t realized that people went to Mass outside of Sunday.

Fast forward a few years (and two sons) and he is active in his parish as a Eucharistic minister and two semesters away from completing a master’s degree in theological studies from the Ann and Joe O. Neuhoff Institute for Ministry & Evangelization.

Nguyen’s education at the Neuhoff Institute for Ministry & Evangelization transformed his life.

"It’s so important for people in ministry not only to know what the Church’s teachings are, but also to transmit the love of their faith to others. It’s not necessarily all the technical knowledge. A lot of times I’m talking to people and I don’t necessarily use any of it at all. But I have this background that does come up; a truer, deeper understanding of my faith. It goes from your head to your heart, and you have the facts that back it up,” he said.

Nguyen was trepidatious about starting a theology graduate program. His college degree was in mechanical engineering and he was working in his family’s food manufacturing business.

“To be honest, I found the switch really hard,” he said. “It really stretched my brain.”

But going back to school has also enriched his personal and family life – his classes have been the basis for many conversations with his 13-year-old son – as well as helping him to evangelize others, including those who have left the Catholic Church without realizing what they're leaving.

"There are so many opportunities every day to minister to people who are thirsty – they’re looking for someone to give them a drink or feed them spiritually. When you get the formal education, it doesn’t come out preachy – it gives you conviction about your faith,” said Nguyen.

"If you feel called, do it. It's going to be so rewarding for you. You won't regret it at all."

Nguyen doesn’t have concrete plans yet for what he’ll do when he finishes his degree, but he does feel a call to minister to the sick and elderly.

He encouraged those considering starting the program not to be afraid.

“If you feel called, do it. It’s going to be so rewarding for you. You won’t regret it at all,” said Nguyen.

The Master’s in Theological Studies at the Neuhoff Institute for Ministry & Evangelization provides a firm foundation in Catholic theology with a special emphasis on preparing students for pastoral ministry. The program can be completed completely online, on campus, or in a blended format of online and on-campus courses. This flexibility has been useful to the Nguyen family as they have recently moved to Atlanta to pursue a new small business opportunity there.

Core courses for the degree include liturgy and sacraments, church history, moral and systematic theology, and the Bible. The degree has two optional available concentrations: biblical theology and Catholic secondary school teaching.

 Learn more about the Master’s in Theological Studies program at the Neuhoff Institute for Ministry & Evangelization.