Year of Study: Theology II
Home Parish: St. Matthew’s
- When did you first think about becoming a priest?
I never had a clear, precise moment where this vocation to the priesthood was revealed. Throughout most of high school, I knew that I may be called to something beyond a natural vocation to married life, but I didn’t’t know what that meant at the time. By the time senior year came around, I decided to take a serious look at the priesthood. Little did I know the incredible amount of discernment, trust, and maturity this would require of me. It’s mysterious, but that’s OK for three reasons. First, I’m influenced and inspired by the witness others give as celibates. Second, I’m enthusiastic about living a life of simplicity, so the trust I need can be fostered. Third, I’m encouraged by the childlike obedience demonstrated by the saints. The desires I have to obtain these virtues are little confirmations among others of a vocation to the priesthood. I’ll be totally certain that this vocation, which I desire so strongly, is mine when the bishop calls my name on the day of ordination, pray God.
- Please tell a bit of your background before entering the seminary: did you enter from high school, working, college, etc.?
I discerned with a religious order straight out of high school. After my time with them, a good friend thought I should consider the diocese as a path to priesthood. This led to some very fruitful conversations with the vocations director and eventually became the reason why I began undergraduate studies at a university to precede my entrance to the seminary. Through all this, I continued to work at a job I held since high school at a local movie theatre. As with any job in customer service, this helped me develop interpersonal skills, which I have found beneficial in ministry.
- What are some of your hobbies or things you enjoy doing during your free time?
I enjoy photography as a casual hobby. If the opportunity comes, I’m also thrilled about traveling and visiting places that are ‘off the beaten path’. Experiencing rural life in Ireland, touring largely-unknown villages in Iceland, making a pilgrimage to Spain solely to enjoy the architecture of small parish churches, these are just some of the examples of where my interests would lead me. Otherwise, browsing photos on the internet of these hidden gems will have to suffice.
- Who is your favorite saint?
Hands down, the Blessed Mother is my favorite saint. Besides her, I’m heavily influenced by the witnesses of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Pius X, Ven. Pius XII, St. John Paul II, and St. Maria Goretti.
- What has been your favorite spiritual reading book?
I’m inspired by Cardinal Sarah’s triptych, God or Nothing, Power of Silence, and The Day is Now Far Spent. C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce is another favorite.
- What part of priestly life do you feel most drawn toward?
Two things: firstly, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Secondly, witnessing the faith as a man configured to Christ by sharing in the authority through which he builds, sanctifies, and governs his Body. Put plainly, I’m drawn to living in the parish and serving God through this task of shepherding his people.
- What would you say to a man considering applying for the seminary?
Your first step should be recognizing and nurturing a desire for sanctity. We’re all meant to be saints, so let holiness and a love for virtue be the driving force behind the pursuit of your vocation. Worldly ambition, inspired by vanity, will only lead to despair. It’s easier said than done, especially since we are conditioned by the world to love ourselves first. By the witness of the martyrs, you can be confident that the reward will be worth the effort and that this goal can be achieved. Christ says it himself, “Take my yoke upon you and learn for me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matt 11:29-30).