Home Parish: St. Paul the Apostle, Houston, TX
Pastoral Year Parish: St. Martha Church, Kingwood, TX
I was born in Corpus Christi and grew up in Nassau Bay, Texas. I am the fifth of six children. I was homeschooled up until the age of 14, when I began taking college classes. Four years later, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in the Humanities-Pre Law.
My family has been attending St. Paul the Apostle for as long as I can remember. As an Altar Server, I had always considered the priesthood because of the intimacy which I experienced a priest as having with Christ in the Eucharist. I viewed a priest’s ability to change lives and save souls as being unlike any other occupation. As I progressed through my teen years, it became difficult for me to imagine myself as anything other than a Catholic priest.
One semester, I contacted my vocation director, Fr. Dat, and, soon after, began the application process to the seminary. After about a month, however, I suddenly and unexpectedly began to feel conflicted. Having been accepted to several law schools and, feeling uncertain about God’s plan for my life, I relayed my concerns to Fr. Dat and, together, we decided that I should wait on making a decision about seminary.
The day I went in to see Fr. Dat about my uncertainty, I had asked God to give me a sign, a dove, if he wanted me to enter seminary in the fall. About a month after I had talked with Fr. Dat, I was praying at an Adoration hour for Fr. Luke Millett, who was to be ordained the next day. I again asked God for a sign, a dove.
It was just about 30 of us kneeling in the church of St. Paul the Apostle; just Jesus and us. I was feeling tired and confused. I was experiencing desperation in a way I had never experienced it before, when I looked up and realized that the stain glass window in our church, the main window right above the crucifix, is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, a dove, with its wings outstretched, looking right at me. True, it wasn’t a real dove. But I realized that, it was probably better that God didn’t send a real one anyways, cause I’m not even sure if I know what a real dove looks like. But, I knew that this image was a dove. I realized that at every service I have attended, at every Mass I have altar served, that dove, the Holy Spirit, my calling to discern the priesthood in seminary, was looking down on me the whole time.
My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I Am God.” This verse helps to guide me in my discernment. It is supernaturally comforting to be reassured that, in the end, God is always in control. It was difficult for me, in my discernment, to remain at peace even when I wasn’t getting the immediate and direct answers I wanted. Sometimes it is difficult to simply take each moment as it comes and generously respond to the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit. However, peace comes in knowing that I can be still and let God be God.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas and at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston. I have never felt so close to God. I feel so joyful knowing that this is where God wants me to be right now. Some of His Will is still a mystery, because there are a lot of unanswered questions and open ends. But He is revealing things to me in accord with when I need to know them. I’m sure there are many difficult decisions ahead, but I am confident that there will be plenty of doves, too.