December 23

Rev. Martin Lam Nguyen C.S.C., ’88 M.Div.

Fr. Martin Nguyen, Notre Dame Associate Professor of Painting & Drawing, relates the incredible journey of his life through immigration, ordination, and a life of humble service.

“My work focuses on taking the time to see the world around us as a daily human practice, both interior and exterior. I am glad to belong to a new home in Holy Cross. I am humbled to participate in the Congregation’s mission of service, especially in education. To serve and to teach is not only to offer others our expertise and efforts but also to receive so much in return.”

In Advent, we sing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” because we know the world can sometimes be dark and overwhelming. But our great joy is the experience, time and time again, that God has placed so many good people on our way, helping us discern his will — shaping our commitment and lives in unimaginable ways.



  1. Thank you Father Martin! I love the fact that I get to hear all of these wonderful stories during this advent!

  2. Thank you Father Martin for sharing and reminding us to focus on all those good people on our path who have helped us to follow the Lords will in our life and bring us to where we are. Merry Christmas

  3. Father Martin, Thank you for sharing your long and beautiful journey of faith, and for highlighting that despite the struggles of life, God surrounds us with people who bless our path. Your sacred story reminds me of St. Francis’ quote, “For it is in giving that we receive.” You have, and continue to give greatly of yourself to others and have experienced God’s immense blessing in exchange. Thank you for your example and for your lifelong ministry. May you enjoy a very peaceful and joy filled Christmas.

  4. Thank you, Fr Martin, for sharing your journey with us especially as we prepare for Christmas. Like most Americans, it is almost frightening to imagine what life was like for you as you journeyed from Vietnam to Hong Kong on a small boat. I am so happy that you and your family made it, and you are able to make significant contributions to Notre Dame in particular and the USA in general now that you’re here.

  5. Fr. Martin
    Still think of you often and remember our good times together at Moreau. You are one that radiates the light and you are truly one of the “good” people sharing your faith.

  6. Thank You Father Nguyen. This story reminds me what my Mom said and believed: every moment of our day may be a “prayer.” This seems to seamlessly tie in with this story’s words:
    “My work focuses on taking the time to see the world around us as a daily human practice, both interior and exterior.” How will my daily practice remain the same, and also at the same time Move Forward? Pondering.

  7. What a fantastic story, Fr Martin…”paying it forward” as your journey took you from refugee to college, the priesthood, and teaching. O Come O Come Emmanuel, indeed. I’m so happy you were open to the plan God had for you! Blessings and the Luck of the Irish to you…

  8. Thank you Father Martin for sharing your inspiring story. Your message leaves me proud and yet humbled to be part of the Notre Dame family. May you have a joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story here. You are a part of my story! What a wonderful two years we had when you were a deacon and then, a baby priest, at St. Francis! I treasure the memories of our time working together… and the whole staff going out to lunch!

  10. Christmas blessings to you Fr. Martin! What a gift for Jane and me to see your Advent reflection! We are ever so grateful to have been able to present you during your ordination to the priesthood on behalf of the St. Francis Xavier catholic community those many years ago.

    Our family has grown up and we are now blessed with four grandchildren…with another on the way, God willing!

    Christmas blessings,
    Cam and Jane Thornton

  11. Fr., Martin, so happy to see you! Merry Christmas🙏🏻 carolann matalon….remember from Saint Francis Xavier school in Burbank

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