Parish: St. Michael’s & St. Rose of Lima, Milwaukee
Seminary: Saint Francis de Sales
Birthday: June 12
Intercessor: St. Damien of Molokai, St. Francis de Sales, St. Patrick
I try to show others the mercy God has shown me through the sacraments. I am joyful because God is at the center of my life and I try to live simply for Him.
Tell us your vocation story:
Since my freshman year in high school, my Catholic faith has become increasingly more important to me and I was involved in so many different ministries in my time in high school and college. These ministries have been mostly related to helping others grow in their faith and see the gifts God has given them. All of these experiences have helped me discern God's will in serving the church, a few of these have really caused me to feel the call of God to serve the Church as a priest. Last year in September, I was doing a lot of reflecting on how I could serve the church after graduation from Marquette University. I had been involved in leading retreats, faith groups, choir, service and attending daily Mass and now I would hope to find a parish I can help bring my gifts to and help serve the church in a meaningful way. That’s when I found St. Michael’s. I started going to a Friday morning Mass at 9 am because it worked well with my class schedule. After Mass one day I asked the priest if I could go to confession and afterwards talked with him a little bit about some of the things I was involved in at Marquette and he told me that he was trying to start a young adult group at the parish and felt God asking him to ask me to help start it. This was an answer to both of our prayers! I started helping out at the parish and organizing young adult group meetings and activities. Then during my fall break, I had a meeting with Fr. Rodriguez about the young adult group and afterwards he asked if I wanted to come with him for an anointing of the sick. I decided to come along since I had never been to one and had plenty of free time. At the anointing, I realized how the sacraments are at such profound moments of transition in people's lives and a good priest can help point someone to Christ, who gives them the grace they need in these transitions through the sacraments. In college, so much of what I was doing was helping others grow in their faith and through this experience, I realized that is exactly what a priest does. From that point on, I knew that I needed to more seriously discern the priesthood.
What is the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary?
When discerning a vocation, many people in our generation treat the first step such as applying as if you are committing to the end result. This is often the case for dating or the priesthood. Most people want to feel like they have everything figured out before they begin something new, but so much of our discernment can only happen when we step out and do things. We need to have faith that God will guide us.
What is your favorite psalm verse and why?
Psalm 51. While I was at Marquette University, my first experience of praying the liturgy of the hours was with the Catholic house community every Friday for morning prayer. Psalm 51 is the first psalm in morning prayer every Friday. Starting the day acknowledging our need for God’s mercy and healing is one of the best things. I also love listening to beautiful pieces of choral music and psalm 51, Miserere Mei, Deus by Allegri is one of my favorites
What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?
I love team sports and outdoor activities. Of these, my favorite is riding my bicycle. I also love listening and having conversations with people.
Where do you like to go pray?
Sometimes I pray in the church. I particularly love praying in historic churches with beautiful religious art. Other times I enjoy praying while I am going on long bike rides or walks. I will often bike to different spots related to what I am praying about such as churches, neighborhoods, parks and make them into mini pilgrimages
Where do you do your best studying?
I do my best studying in a large open area at a table or desk.
Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?
St. Damien of Molokai, St. Francis de Sales and St. Patrick