Fr. Dat Nguyen
Hello UC Santa Cruz community,
I'm happy to serve you as a Catholic chaplain appointed by Bishop Daniel Garcia of the Diocese of Monterey. The Church cares for everyone, especially our Catholic faithful and our young people so my goal is to assist all of you in any way possible. As a priest, my focus is on your spiritual and moral developments, but I'm also interested in your personal growth, academic achievements, social interaction, and athletic endeavors.
Before ordination to the priesthood, I graduated college with a degree in chemistry. I like math, science, arts, and travel. I was assigned to Holy Cross parish from 2016 to 2018 as a seminarian and deacon, and now I'm happy to return to serve you all as a priest.
In order to better serve you, I've assembled an awesome team of volunteers who minister to you on a regular basis. We have Ms. Chris Nunez serving as pastoral associate. Mr. Greg Hutchinson is our Newman chef. In addition to these outstanding individuals, I also have an advisory board made up of parishioners from the Santa Cruz area.
I look forward to meeting you and getting to know you.
Fr. Dat Nguyen
Pastoral Associate's Message
It’s a surprise and privilege to be serving the UCSC Catholic Community as a Pastoral
Associate at the Newman Center. I first served as Pastoral Associate with Padre Rodolfo
Contreras a decade ago, circa 2011, and then served as Interim Director when he had to
return to Mexico to handle some immigration paperwork.
I studied theology and pastoral ministry at the University of San Francisco and at Santa
Clara University, respectively, and have a masters degree in each. My bachelors in
science is in Human Relations and Organizational Behavior.
I was late in life returning to the Church, and officially did so when studying for my
undergraduate degree at the University of San Francisco that’s when my love for
theology caught fire with the homilies of Fr. Charlie Gagan, S.J. Rector of the university.
Prior to that and throughout my life I have served in community service organizations
serving women, children and families in crisis. I have also been involved in community
organizing for the United Farm Workers Union, and worked with community volunteers
trying to reform law enforcement in San Jose where I was raised. We successfully
replaced two chiefs of police before finding the Chief of Police who worked with our
communities to improve services for all residents.
I believe my education and background in organizational behavior and practical work in
social justice can help students involved with the UCSC Newman Center understand the
teachings of the Catholic Church and the call to serve those in need, and those who are
wounded and in need of healing.