Steven Shlapak


Notre Dame Seminary
2901 S. Carrollton Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118

School: Notre Dame Seminary
2901 S. Carrollton Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118


I grew up in Peachtree City, GA with my parents, one older sister, and two younger brothers. In my early youth my family attended what is now The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Atlanta. My family now attends Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Peachtree City. I graduated from Starr’s Mill High School in 2012. I got out of Georgia Tech with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in May of 2016. In August of 2016 I began my first year of the Pre-Theology program at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.

What are your hobbies and interests?

Through high school I enjoyed playing soccer and running track and cross country. In college I continued to run and played intramurals. I have a great interest in aviation. I also enjoy reading and cooking.

What is one of your favorite scriptures?

One of my favorite scripture passages is Psalm 43 [42] in which the psalmist calls upon God in a time of trouble. He calls upon God, not in a timid or fearful manner, but rather with boldness. He prays honestly, asking God the questions that are on his heart with reverence, but does not hide behind false piety. He implores God to come to his aid and hopes in God even while his soul is cast down.

Who is your favorite saint and why?

I hesitate to name one favorite saint. I consistently beseech the intercession of The Virgin Mary and St Michael the Archangel, who is my confirmation saint. I also seek the intercession of St. Joseph, St. Peter, St. John the Evangelist, St Maria Goretti, St. Therese of Lisieux and many others. I have also developed a particular devotion to St. Joseph of Cupertino – patron of pilots and test takers.

In a nutshell, what is your vocation story? How did you feel called to the priesthood?

Growing up I wanted to be a pilot. I graduated high school and went to Tech as a cadet in AFROTC. In my second year at Tech I grew in conviction in the Catholic faith and began to get more involved at the Catholic Center. I really began to feel God drawing me towards the priesthood in my third year of college. I withdrew from AFROTC and continued discerning my vocation through prayer, Eucharistic adoration, frequenting the sacraments, and spiritual direction. Ultimately I grew confident God was calling me to pursue a vocation to the priesthood, and I will continue to discern his will while in seminary!

What is seminary life like for you?

I started at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans in August of 2016. It has required some discipline to adjust to the regular schedule, but I am glad to be where God has led me. The Philosophy courses are a bit of a change from my Mechanical Engineering courses at Tech, but I thoroughly enjoy them. Seminary life is a busy life, but I rejoice to be busy doing the will of God.

What do you look forward to about being a priest?

I think most seminarians, myself included, look forward to bringing the grace of God to the faithful through the celebration of the sacraments. Particularly I look forward to offering the sacrifice of the Mass. I have come to know God through the liturgies of the church, and I hope to one day lead others to him by celebrating those same liturgies.

What advice do you have for other guys thinking about the priesthood?

Your vocation is the path by which God desires you to get to heaven. At your baptism God made your vocation knowable to you, and he does not aim to hide your vocation from you or to keep it a secret. God wants to give you your vocation, but because he respects your freedom of will he will not force it upon you; you must seek it out for yourself. Get some help along the way! Visit and read To Save a Thousand Souls by Fr. Brett Brannen. Don’t go it alone; talk to your priest. Even if it is just for a minute or two here or there after Mass, ask your priest questions and ask him to pray for you. Most importantly draw near to God in Sacred Scripture, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in Confession, in Eucharistic adoration, and in prayer. Even if you start with only praying 10 minutes a day, pray every day. Pray a little longer as the days go on, and just keep praying. Pray and pray and then pray some more. Pray when you don’t want to pray, when you’re too tired to pray, and especially when you’re too busy to pray. Pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament until your knees are sore, your back aches, and your feet fall asleep. For if you so desire to be with Christ in prayer here on earth, he will surely show you the path he has laid for you to take in order to be with him in paradise for all eternity. Whether that path is the priesthood, religious life, or marriage, pray that you may know your vocation, embrace it, and live it well. Be a saint.