School: St. Vincent de Paul Seminary
10701 S. Military Trail
Boynton Beach, FL 33436
Tell us about where you grew up and your family background?
I was born and raised in Woodstock, GA. I graduated from Etowah High School and Kennesaw State University. I am blessed to have been a part of a Catholic family that strengthened my faith. I am the middle child out of five, but in true middle child fashion I boldly declare that I am not like “most” middle children. I have an older sister and brother, and a younger sister and brother. My parents made it a point to teach us the faith, bring us to mass at least once a week, introduce us to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, nightly rosaries, and many other aspects of Catholicism. This played a big part in my ability to hear and respond to the Lord’s call to pursue the priesthood.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I competed with my older brother in everything since he is a year and a half older than me. This led to me becoming very involved in sports. Football, soccer, swimming, and basketball were some of the staples. Also, having four siblings meant there was always someone that I could compete with. Sports and competition provided an avenue for me to grow in a deeper relationship with my siblings. I also enjoy reading. Some of my favorite authors are G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis. Furthermore, I also enjoy playing the piano.
What is one of your favorite scriptures?
My favorite scripture verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says, “No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength. And with each trial He will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.” This bible verse provided a lot of consolation in my life. It was through this verse that I first realized that the Lord is close to my heart, and He knows what I can handle and what is too much. And even more than that, He cares enough to give me an escape. The evil one cannot swallow me up in sin and temptation because God is faithful. This gave me great consolation through difficult times, and it continues to speak to me today.
Who is your favorite saint and why?
It is very hard to pick one saint. My confirmation saint is St. Francis of Assisi, and I love his story of reform and gospel simplicity. But one saint that is a powerhouse and gives me courage to work tirelessly with the Lord is St. John Bosco. His work with troubled youth in Italy is something that I admire a great deal. I love his philosophy of playing and praying. It is one that attracted many to his presence during his life, and this philosophy is still true today among people. Being approachable, fun-loving, and holy allows you to foster ordinary encounters with Christ. People yearn to be with kind, joyful, and holy people. It is like sunlight for the soul. St. John Bosco warmed many people with his personality and sanctity, and it inspires me to do the same.I
In a nutshell, what is your vocation story? How did you feel called to the priesthood?
For one summer I worked at Life Teen camp Hidden Lake. And one of the first weekends there a friend of mine asked if I had ever thought of the priesthood. I was quick with my response that I had thought about it, but realized that God had other plans for me. In reality I had not thought much about it. However, I knew that I was a “normal” guy and not the material for the priesthood. Over that whole summer that question would not leave my head, and I ended up praying over this question all summer. After that summer, I returned to my university to finish my studies all the while praying with this idea of the priesthood. After discerning this question through graduation, getting a job, and a few years in the workplace (four years total), I was talking to a good friend who called me and told me that there is a stage in discernment where we need to take a step. This idea convicted me, so I immediately hung up the phone and called the vocation office. The reality was that my heart was already convicted about the priesthood, but it took my head a few years to be ok with the decision.
What is seminary life like for you?
The whole point of the seminary is to give you the necessary resources to discern God’s call for your life. In the seminary we take classes, do community service, play sports, and pray. There is a schedule that we abide by which allows us to accomplish all of our duties and responsibilities. Seminary life teaches us how to be men of integrity and maturity. The best part of seminary life are the other men who are willing to have deep conversations with you about the meaning and purpose of life. They are willing to encourage you or challenge you when you need it. The men that I have met in seminary are some of my best friends.
What do you look forward to about being a priest?
The priesthood is very attractive to me for a few reasons. The first reason is for the sacraments. The Eucharist and confession played integral parts in my faith life and discernment, and I am eager to serve the faithful in these two ways specifically. The second reason is to be a living example of discipleship. For better or worse, priests are looked at with a higher standard. This is good to hold men of God to a higher standard, but it hurts more when we see them fail which we have seen too much of. I look forward to living as an example of faith, hope, and charity for all those that I encounter. To be able to show them that a life with Christ is joyful, contagious, and fulfilling.
What advice do you have for other guys thinking about the priesthood?
Do not be afraid. Throughout the scriptures Christ invites us to not be afraid. Christ would not tell us to do something if it was impossible. So be not afraid in starting the conversation with a priest that you trust or the vocation office. Be not afraid to pray with the idea of the priesthood. Be not afraid to go on a come and see weekend at a seminary. Be not afraid to take any necessary steps to help in your discernment.