I think of myself as a joyful and energetic man who seeks to serve God in others and this service is the source of my happiness.
Tell us your vocation story:
While sitting in the back of the pews of church one day praying, a priest came to me and said, "How would you like to serve the Lord during Mass?" I quickly responded, "no, way! I am a sinner," and the priest said, "so am I." I then told him I was going to think about it. Eventually, I accepted his offer after the third time he asked. I loved the service, but I felt like I needed something else. A few months later I went to a men's retreat and there I thought I had done it all, but in my heart, I felt like there was something missing. My heart was thirsty for something else. After having served on another men's retreat, I asked the Lord, "What else do you want from me?" A couple days later I was asked to play Jesus in the play, The Passion of the Christ. At first, I rejected the invite because I felt unworthy of playing Jesus, but something inside my heart was calling me out to say, "Yes." As we practiced the play every day, I felt so much sorrow for what Jesus went through that I decided to do the play bare feet. I did not realize that this was the way God brought me into consistent prayer to seek his will during this time of preparation for the play. Holy Thursday and Good Friday came and I was not ready, but the Lord had it all taken care of. During the play, I realized I was preaching to the crowd by playing Jesus.
After the play I went home and asked God, "What else can I do for you Lord?" I thought after the play I would be happy, but I was not. My heart was still thirsty for the service to the Lord. That is when this question came across my mind, "Am I being called to be a priest?" I prayed for months for an answer. This is when I started seeking out guidance and realized I have experienced the call because the Lord still calls.
It was not easy to realize, nor to accept the Lord's call, because a lot of doubts came to me the whole time I was discerning. Once more, the Lord had it all taken care of. He showed me that I am not alone. There are a lot of great friends praying for me as well as some priest friends that have been guiding me to do the Lord's will.
What is the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary?
One of the greatest challenges a man considering seminary faces is going against current societal ideologies. I think that today’s society wants to convey the false idea that material things achieve happiness. Therefore, when a man chooses to leave everything behind to discern the will of God, it seems impossible to some that one can find happiness pursuing God’s will through the priesthood.
What is your favorite psalm verse and why?
My favorite Psalm is Psalm 51, specifically verse 3. “Have mercy oh God in your kindness, in your compassion blot out my offense”. This Psalm is a plea to God for His great compassion and mercy. Every time I read this Psalm I think of myself as a sinner who entrusts himself completely to God’s merciful kindness. After all, God’s mercy and love is what gives me hope.
What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?
I always enjoy spending time with nature. When I am not in the seminary, I usually go to places where I can disconnect from technology and everyday activities to enjoy the beauty of nature. Also, I really enjoy exercise and reading during free time.
Where do you like to go to pray?
I often find it more comfortable to pray in my bedroom or any place where it is silent.
Where do you do your best studying?
I often study at home because I find it to be a better place for me to study.
Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?
St. John Paul II. He is a saint who is a role model for my vocation. I admired him since I was little because of his great impact within the church.