School: St. Vincent de Paul Seminary
10701 S. Military Trail
Boynton Beach, FL 33436
I grew up in Dacula, GA, a small town outside of Lawrenceville and northeast of Atlanta. The town is known for being the perfect mid-way stop between Athens and Atlanta. That said, my entire family went to Georgia Tech, including myself, and so I have spent the majority of my life in persecution, enduring against wayward UGA fans. I have three older sisters and currently three nephews and three nieces. Additionally, my home parish is St. Lawrence in Lawrenceville, and I attended Dacula Public Schools.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I thoroughly enjoy hiking, camping, biking, playing any sport, singing, playing the guitar, reading, and playing chess. I also have an interest in math and science as I studied Industrial Engineering in college. During the seminary school year, I enjoy taking my Sundays to read in a hammock and go biking on the A1A along the beach. All around, I enjoy competition, so be careful if you challenge me!
What is one of your favorite scriptures?
One of my favorite quotes from scripture is Joshua 24:15b, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” This quote appears in the last chapter of the book of Joshua in which Joshua seeks to renew the Israelites’ covenant with the Lord. I particularly love this quote because is exemplifies the radicality of the Christian life in which man is made to serve God before all else and serve no other gods. Joshua is one of the greatest leaders of the Old Testament, and I desire to have the boldness and courage that Joshua exemplifies.
Who is your favorite saint and why?
It is difficult to pick just one, but my two favorite Saints are St. Padre Pio and St. Therese de Lisieux. I have learned extensively about both of these Saints, but they have played different roles in my life. St. Padre Pio is my confirmation Saint, and I chose him because he is a secondary patron saint for those who often worry and have anxiety. He is an incredible role model, particularly as a holy priest. Additionally, St. Therese has been a great patroness to my family for a few generations, continually interceding for our family through many occurrences. Moreover, both Theresa and Rose are common family names!
In a nutshell, what is your vocation story? How did you feel called to the priesthood?
During my time in high school, through the grace of God, I slowly started to root sin out of my life, and I became more involved with the high school community at my home parish. On Christmas night of my senior year in high school, I had a dramatic conversion of the soul, mind, and heart in which I fell in love with Jesus Christ and His Church. The summer between high school and college, my youth director at St. Lawrence gave me a flyer to go on an Archdiocese discernment retreat. I couldn’t go on the retreat, but my heart was ignited with joy in that moment when I first was introduced to the idea of the priesthood. During the next four years at Georgia Tech, the GT Catholic Center was an incredible place to foster my love for Christ and listen to His call.
What is seminary life like for you?
Seminary is busy, fun, challenging, and an engaging house of prayer and school of community. I like to wake up early in the morning for a workout before 6:45am morning prayer and Mass, and then I have classes and pray a holy hour between 8am and 1pm. I generally have the afternoons free for homework, meetings, and ministry. Later, I have 5:45pm evening prayer with dinner to follow. Late evenings are usually filled with recreation with my brother seminarians, or I sometimes like to read a good book before I go to bed. Generally, weekends are filled with much recreation.
What do you look forward to about being a priest?
This might sound obvious, but I look forward to being a father. Fatherhood is one of the deepest desires written on every man’s heart, and the priesthood fulfills this desire in an incredibly beautiful, supernatural way that was realized during my summer assignment. More specifically, I look forward to celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, hearing confessions, and giving spiritual direction. Lastly, I look forward to bringing Christ to God’s people, especially in the midst of suffering.
What advice do you have for other guys thinking about the priesthood?
To the men who are thinking about the priesthood or who have thought about the priesthood, I encourage you to do three things that were very helpful in my life: 1) Develop a greater public and private prayer life. This includes trying to go to daily Mass when possible and going to confession at least once a month. Try to spend at least 15 minutes daily in private, quiet prayer. 2) Read To Save a Thousand Souls. It is a great book that introduces the reality of the Diocesan priesthood. 3) Tell your parish priest and/or the Vocations Director that you have thought about the priesthood. Discernment involves the Church, and others can help you take the appropriate next steps.