English Language Preparation
Given that English language is their second language, every candidate will need to take courses in English as a Second Language (ESL) program before they enroll the priestly formation program. The length of studying English depends on the candidate’s English proficiency, taking from one semester to one academic year prior to Pre-Theology. The candidate can take the ESL program either at a college/university or seminary selected by the arch/diocese in consultation with FSVN if necessary.
The Missionaries for the West staff includes a voluntary panel of 4-5 men and women religious, who are specialized in different areas. This panel specifically assesses the men as fitting candidates for traveling overseas, having readiness for priestly formation, as well as if they possess a foundational amount of human maturity and intellectual ability. FSVN is in contact with local pastors where candidates are from, since inquirers in Vietnam must have a strong parochial presence during their discernment. The parish also is intended to provide ecclesial support and prayer.
Immigration & Logistics
The candidates arrive in the United States on the F1 student visa. The F1 student visa is applied for any international students studying in the United States. This legal status could be done through either the seminary or a college, depending on where the candidates begin their study. Once they get to II Theology or some other point before Diaconate ordination, the diocese will need to change the legal status for them accordingly.
Support Prior to Arrival
FSVN will help communicate with the candidates during the whole process. FSVN will work with the U.S. vocational directors and the candidates in achieving documents for visa application, scheduling visa interview at a US embassy for the candidates. Once the candidates are granted their Visas, FSVN will help book air plane tickets to the US and will begin formation in English and American culture. It should be noted there is about a 50% chance of being granted VISA status by the US embassy.
Support while in USA
FSVN keeps in touch with the vocational directors and the candidates after they arrive in the United States. FSVN provides psychological counseling and cultural orientation for the men and others through the annual gathering, usually after Christmas. Annually the seminarians will meet with other FSVN seminarians for 2-4 days recollection over summer. There is also opportunity of 8 day retreats for the seminarians with both American and Vietnamese spiritual directors.