Year of formation: Theology 2
Home Parish:St. Thomas Aquinas, College Station, TX
What were you doing prior to entering seminary?
I went to college at Texas A&M University ('13) and I was a Middle School Youth Coordinator at a local parish.
In short, what is your vocation story? Why are you in seminary today?
I thought about being a priest when I was a young kid around the time of First Communion. I loved to altar serve. In high school, I was active in my youth group, and through the loving care of the community, I began to develop a personal relationship with Christ. At the same time, I was asking the question of what the Lord wanted me to do with my life as well as trying to grow in holiness. In a particularly powerful moment during a time of Eucharistic Adoration on a youth retreat, I was able to go to confession. Through that experience of God's mercy, I realized in a particular way that God loved me. I was also extremely grateful for the example of the priest who was a true father to me, and the thought of becoming a priest was reinvigorated in my mind. At the end of high school, I was not yet in a place to be able to discern to enter formation. Because of this, and acting on the advice of a good friend, I went to Texas A&M University and learned to stay close to the Lord there. At A&M I was given the opportunity to coordinate a middle school youth group for a local parish, and I realized that I loved sharing the faith. At the same time, I was doing well in my chosen major and actually could have seen myself as an engineer or doctor. During the summer before my senior year of college, I went on a retreat with the Legionnaires of Christ, where God gave me the grace to see that I had to investigate this idea of priesthood in a more formal way. That summer I worked an 8-5 job and so I developed a habit of prayer in the morning and daily Mass. Through this, I found myself more and more drawn towards the priesthood. That fall, I was ready to go to the career fair at A&M, but I stopped for a regular time of Adoration at St. Mary's Catholic Center. During this period of adoration, the Lord asked me to consider trusting him in a radical way, by applying for seminary and being open to the possibility of becoming a priest. I decided, prompted by the grace of God to trust Him and I walked out of that chapel into what has been the adventure of my life thus far, following Jesus more closely, discerning the priesthood, and being formed to be a priest. ;
Advice to other men considering the priesthood:
Find a spiritual director, learn to pray (by praying daily!), ask the Lord to guide you in being formed and discerning. Also do not be afraid of applying or entering in the seminary, or even of talking to someone you trust about becoming a priest. I have seen amazing men of Christ, come to the seminary and then after a few years realize that God was asking them to leave formation. They gave their generous yes to the Lord in discerning his call and left as better Christians. I remember realizing at the end of my first, semester that because of the formation that I had received I was a better man and a better Christian. I felt more called to the priesthood but at the same time I recognized the freedom God had granted me in making a choice to serve him by continuing to be formed. Be not afraid to discern a call!
Other cool stuff you want to share
My brothers and I raised poultry for about 10 years for 4-H and FFA projects.
Hobbies/Interests:cooking, swimming, basketball, reading, languages