Seminary: St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach, Florida
College: Belmont Abbey College
Birth Date: December 20
Home Parish: St. Catherine of Siena, Wake Forest
Hobbies: weight-lifting, swimming, playing video games, singing, playing guitar and ukulele, reading
When did you enter the seminary? 2015, 2020
Who/what influenced your decision to enter the seminary? Father Phil Tighe, my former pastor and vocations director (who passed away Aug. 31, 2020), was the most influential individual in my discernment. Further, Father Bill John Acosta-Escobar, my former vocations director and current pastor, was also significant in my discernment. Both provide models of what it means to be a holy and generous priest of God.
What is it like living in the seminary? The seminary atmosphere is one of prayer, as that is absolutely imperative in discernment and the preparation to be a holy priest of God, so there is a lot of time spent in prayer—both communally and in private. Seminary is also a place of study where we receive schooling in theology and other fields to prepare us to be priests. There is also time for leisure and fraternity to strengthen the friendships between seminarian brothers.
What is the hardest part of being in the seminary? The distance from our home diocese.
What is the best part of being in the seminary? The fraternity with all the brother seminarians.
Who is your favorite saint? Why? St. Damien of Molokai, St. John Berchmanns, and St. Paul Miki and companions
What advice would you give to a young man thinking about the priesthood? I would tell him not to look for obvious, loud, and extravagant “signs” from God that would convince him without a doubt that his call is to the priesthood. Instead, pay close attention to the seemingly small ways. God is moving his heart to trust God to lead him to his vocation amidst the lack of certainty. If he has the desire to follow God’s will and truly trusts in our Lord, then he will be led where he is meant to be. Spending time with our Lord in silent prayer is imperative for this kind of discernment.
What particular devotion(s) do you find helpful in your discernment? Silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Lectio Divina, the Rosary.
How did your family and friends react when you made that decision? Are they supportive now? My family was unsurprised and have been supportive from the beginning. I received mixed reactions from my friends, but they too have always been supportive.
How big is your family? Where do you fit in? My family has six children, of which I am the third.