The youngest member of the French priest trio sensation Les Prêtres, seminarian Joseph Dinh Nguyen Nguyen, has stunned his public -- and his bishop -- by revealing that he will not be returning to seminary. Nguyen, who had been studying in France since 2003 with permission of the bishop of Saigon, had been on a routine leave of absence for vocational discernment since 2007.
Les Prêtres was founded by Msgr. Jean-Michel di Falco, Bishop of Gap and Embrun (Hautes-Alpes). In addition to Nguyen, it includes Fr. Jean-Michel Bardet, pastor of the Cathedral of Gap, and Fr. Charles Troesch, chaplain of the Basilica of Our Lady of Laus. The trio recorded their first album, Spiritus Dei, last year to fund the construction of a church in their diocese as well as the construction of a school in Madagascar.
Les Prêtres' recordings have been a huge success in France. Spiritus Dei, which came out in March 2010, has sold 850,000 copies and gone platinum. Their second album, Gloria, which came out in April 2011, has already sold 250,000 copies. Both albums are currently in the Top 10 for sales in France.
But his experience touring with his clerical colleagues affected the young seminarian. Nguyen told Le Nouvel Observateur that he has decided not to return to seminary because he wants to get married and have a family. "During the concerts, I saw it was possible to live out one's faith in a family, and it made me want to do that," he explained. "The road has been long but that's it; my decision is made."
But he's not abandoning his singing partners yet. The trio's concerts are guaranteed at least until the one on November 13th at the Palais des Congrès in Paris.