I am grateful that I was born to the loving parents who practiced their faith. The earliest memory that I have is in Seoul, S. Korea in an ornate chapel worshiping the Lord. My older brother and l both attended a private Catholic school. The subjects that I excelled in the most were mathematics and music. In addition, I enjoyed extracurricular activities such as ice skating and playing soccer.
When I was nine, my family moved to Orange County, CA where we continued to be involved in the life of a parish. My older brother and I enrolled in a public-school system which took on a different pace and structure to that of a Catholic school. It was also a period when my younger brother was born: I had become a middle child.
Throughout middle and high school, I was heavily interested in electronics. I had a desire to learn about sound programs and how sound systems worked. In addition, I started attending live concerts. Sounds in general were fascinating. This persisting interest encouraged me to pursue a major in music technology at the New York University.
In college, I had a strong inclination to stop practicing the faith. Busy with classes and internships, I lost interest in God and the Church. Upon an invitation to a friend to St. Joseph’s in Greenwich Village, the campus parish of NYU, I encountered the men in white habit who were known as the Dominicans. Before this period, I had never encountered priests who were
competent yet so personable. And I was sold by their preaching.
It was through a particular friar by the name of John McGuire, OP that I began to think about the priesthood. I had considered it a few times in the past, but the call seemed to be stronger this time around. To my amazement, I was praying the divine office, and I started attending daily Mass. I was on fire.
Upon graduation without thinking much of the details, I joined the Diocese of Orange to be closer to my parents and to answer the call to the priesthood. After spending three years in the diocese, however, I realized that I did not have a call to the Diocesan way of living. I strongly wanted a Dominican life: a strong zeal for preaching by the way of community and contemplation.
Eventually, with prayer and direction, I made the decision to leave the diocese and to become a Dominican in the western Province.
I have been very happy to be a part of this Province and the worldwide Order. In April of 2017, I made solemn profession, and in June of 2018, I was ordained to the priesthood.
My first assignment as a newly ordained priest was in Anchorage, AK where I practiced the art of the sacraments and where I learned about God from the parishioners and the people in the ‘bush.’
Perhaps the dark and cold nights of the never-ending winters will balance out in the heat of Tucson. I really look forward to meeting you, and to learn about God from you! – Fr. Pius Youn, OP