School: St. Vincent de Paul Seminary
10701 S. Military Trail
Boynton Beach, FL 33436
My hometown is Rome, which is about an hour northwest of Atlanta, Georgia. I grew up there and didn’t live anywhere else until shortly after graduating college. As a matter of fact, I received my high school AND college diploma in the same exact location. My family is split, one side being Mexican, and the other side being Guatemalan. Our family consists of my two parents and four children.
What are your hobbies and interests?
My main hobbies include running/sports, listening to music, playing guitar/piano and fishing. I especially enjoy being able to go outside into nature. I try to have a balance of more contemplative activities as well as some high-energy ones. I also take interest in anything coffee and cooking related!
What is one of your favorite scriptures?
St. Paul writes about becoming a man of communion. A verse that sticks out to me is 1 Corinthians 9:22, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” I think it’s beautiful to always have this as a goal, especially when trying to promulgate the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. For me, it is a challenge to remember that the disciple is one that is always on the way. Becoming “all things to all men” is a life-long pursuit, and one that I want to continuously strive after.
Who is your favorite saint and why?
Saint John Paul II is my favorite saint for three reasons. Firstly, he (along with the help of his predecessors) gave us the marvelous works of Theology of The Body! Secondly, his encouragement in having a devotion to Our Blessed Mother has been instrumental for me. Lastly, JPII’s encyclicals have had a big impact on me within the context of missionary activity. His encyclical, Mission of The Redeemer, was particularly powerful in forming me as a missionary of Jesus Christ.
In a nutshell, what is your vocation story? How did you feel called to the priesthood?
My calling to the priesthood began when I was serving as a missionary with LifeTeen Inc. I was on a silent retreat when the Lord made the initial invitation for me to “be His priest.” I pushed it off for a long time until I was drawn to read the book, To Save A Thousand Souls, by Fr. Brett Brannen. This book gave me a whole lot of clarity as I discerned applying to seminary. My spiritual director at the time also gave me advice and direction!
What is seminary life like for you?
Seminary life is akin to heaven on earth. My brothers and I get to fill our days with community, the Sacraments, leisure, study/reading, exercise, prayer, and even the occasional trip to the beach (SVdP Regional Seminary is about a fifteen-minute drive to the beach). Albeit, a large percentage of my time is spent in the chapel and library/class. It has truly been a joy to dive into the study of philosophy to come to a deeper understanding of our faith. I am thankful EVERYDAY for the gift of being able to be here. My expectations of seminary have been met and exceeded.
What do you look forward to about being a priest?
I look forward to bringing the Truth of Jesus Christ to all people in the Archdiocese and beyond. A priest gets the incredible opportunity of journeying with people in a Christocentric way. I feel that is what I am most excited about. Specifically, I look forward to administering the Sacraments, spiritual direction, and having bible studies with parishioners.
What advice do you have for other guys thinking about the priesthood?
I would suggest two things. If you haven’t already, read To Save A Thousand Souls. It really does a great job of getting you out of your head and seeing the big picture of things! Secondly, talk with your spiritual director about discernment. The cliché “bringing out into the light” is probably the most helpful thing you can do. Bring it to your spiritual director or a priest you feel comfortable with. The Lord works in the silence, but he also uses others to speak truth into our lives. May God bless you.