Class of 2011 - Quotes of those not pictured
Fr. L. Henry AgudeloPeople would be surprised to know that I had basically forgotten about the priesthood and believed that God was never really calling me. One day as I was attending a men's Cursillo retreat, I found God again. God presence was stronger than ever and felt Him calling me to the priesthood once again. From that time until now I have been continually working to answer His call.
Fr. Joshua AllenPeople would be surprised to know that I experienced a profound intellectual conversion from doctrinal atheism back to my Catholic roots when I was 25. This conversion demanded the total surrender of all my plans, hopes, and dreams to God. It was in that surrender, in being open to do the will of God, that I--perhaps for the first time ever--heard his voice in my heart: you will be my priest.
Fr. Jay AthertonPeople would be surprised to know that I longed dreamed of being a priest. The way that my vocation was realized, however, was a total surprise; I never thought it would work out the way that it did.
Fr. Steven BorelloPeople would be surprised to know that I first thought about being a priest in second grade. In fourth grade after watching the film, "Song of Burnadette," I decided I'd rather be a saint than a priest because no one spoke of the priesthood, religious life, or holy matrimony as vocations. Further, once I began to watch more tv and listen to more contemporary music, my desire to be a saint slowly erroded and was replaced by many of the ideals of the culture.
Fr. Vincent BresowarPeople would be surprised to know that I was pretty far away from the Church when I was mesmerized and brought back by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Fr. Brendan BucklerPeople would be surprised to know that I received the call to the priesthood when I was engaged to be married. God has a plan and He lets us know, even if it seems inopportune.
Fr. Anthony BuiPeople would be surprised to know that I was encouraged by my parents to become a priest. Later in life, I escaped Vietnam by boat to a refugee camp in Indonesia. God gave me a second chance to live, and I want to dedicate my second life to him.
Fr. Todd CarterPeople would be surprised to know that I wasn't sure that I was called to the priesthood until after I entered seminary. I thought that God may have been calling me to the priesthood. So, I entered to find out and learned that God was calling me.
Fr. Matthew CoonanPeople would be surprised to know that I didn't read an entire book until after I graduated from college . . . I don't recommend waiting that long to others though.
Fr. Tucker CordaniPeople would be surprised to know that I am becoming a priest because God is asking me to.
Fr. Hyacinth Marie Cordell OPPeople would be surprised to know that I studied and seriously played drums and percussion, and that I worked for a pilgrimage company for a year and a half in which I led groups to shrines in the Holy Land, Europe, and Mexico.
Fr. Jeffrey CorePeople would be surprised to know that I enjoy making different geometric shapes using origami techniques. I am also an avid fly-fisherman and upland game bird hunter.
Fr. Anthony CraigPeople would be surprised to know that I almost played division two football. Someone said to me, "if that's what you want to do with your college years that's fine." This struck me and made me reconsider my motives. I searched my heart and asked God what I ought to do. I remembered my visit to St. John Vianney College Seminary a couple of years earlier and how attracted I was to enter that life following Christ and seeking his voice in seminary. I entered and have been happy as a clam ever since.
Fr. Stephen DandeneauPeople would be surprised to know that I have been an uncle since I was eight years old and I am an Eagle Scout. Just like most priests, before I entered the seminary I enjoyed various sports, Boy Scouts, outdoor activities, movies, music, and spending time with friends...and I still do most of these now.
Fr. John Carlos De SousaPeople would be surprised to know that for as long as I as remember people told me that I should become a priest or would make a good priest, but I always saw myself as a father and married; that is precisely how I'd answer saying I want to be a "father." Now I know exactly what kind of a "Father" God was calling me to be...a spiritual Father.
Fr. Noah J. DiehmPeople would be surprised to know that I had strongly considered getting a Master's degree and Ph.D. to become a college philosophy professor before feeling called to explore priesthood in the seminary.
Fr. Christopher DiTomoPeople would be surprised to know that I had to persevere through various struggles and setbacks to arrive at priestly ordination. I initially left seminary formation and was able to return later to finish because of the immense grace of God and the generous support and prayers of friends, family, and my diocese.
Fr. James DodsonPeople would be surprised to know that I describe my path to the priesthood as one during which God has been guiding me gently with His providential hand by using ordinary means to bring me to this extraordinary vocation!
Fr. Guthrie DolanPeople would be surprised to know that I thought about being a priest at a very young age, but largely forgot about it until a priest and a friend in high school helped me see what God was calling me to. It has always seemed to me that others see my vocation more clearly than I, and their support has always encouraged me.
Fr. Christopher DonleyPeople would be surprised to know that I found my vocation to the priesthood inside the structure of my family. As the late Pope John Paul II constantly reminded us, our family relationships can be instrumental to our callings in life. Through their constant witness in seeking out the good, my family has helped me hear the vocation that God has called me to.
Fr. Luke DundonPeople would be surprised to know that I had no idea how I would pursue my vocation to the priesthood after having already begun a career in the Navy. But with prior medical challenges in my life and after the closure of possibilities to serve in other ways, I was presented with the possibility of being Chaplain, namely a priest, for the People of God. By following God's plan, things turn out better than I had planned or could hope for!
Fr. Edwin DwyerPeople would be surprised to know that I have a talent for rewriting secular music to lyrics that have Catholic themes.
Fr. Charles DygertPeople would be surprised to know that I went to law school for a year (primarily, to try to escape from God's call!). It was not enough: my heart could not find peace there, and the Lord led me into the seminary.
Fr. Jeffrey EstcioPeople would be surprised to know that I recently started a new hobby of photography and won an international photography contest. I am looking forward to working in the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky, and I am very grateful for the vocation of priesthood that God has given me.
Fr. Jude EzumaPeople would be surprised to know that I did not think of becoming a priest until about age 16, when I started experiencing a strong desire for prayer and quiet time with the Lord. At first, I did not know what to make of it; I thought it was 'normal' for people my age. But with the encouragement of family members and friends, I was able to discern a call to the priesthood.
Fr. Timothy FoyPeople would be surprised to know that I tried to be an Air Force pilot, but the adventure of training for the priesthood has made even that life seem a little ordinary. I look forward to giving my whole self in service to Christ.
Fr. Hugo Armando Londoņo GallegoPeople would be surprised to know that I take opera voice lessons , and I like to plant a tree for each niece or nephew that is born.
Fr. David GendersPeople would be surprised to know that I was a part of the 2000 NCAA Championship UCLA Men's Volleyball team and am looking forward to pursuing a ministry in the field of electronic media and communications, as a priest.
Fr. Mark GikenyiPeople would be surprised to know that I came this far because God has brought me from afar, but He did not let me get lost. My parents did not support my idea of joining seminary, neither did they believe that I would one day be ordained a priest. I am so grateful not because I have come to where I have reached, but because God has chosen and qualified me to stand and offer the sacrifice of praise in His Holy Sanctuary.
Fr. Jorge Alfonso Gomez AlvaradoPeople would be surprised to know that I considered my call to the priesthood because I saw the great need of the Hispanic community in the United States; they were as sheep without a shepherd.
Fr. Brad HagelinPeople would be surprised to know that I played Rugby in college and heard my calling to the priesthood while working in the summer at a wastewater treatment plant while praying the rosary.
Fr. John HetlandPeople would be surprised to know that I had a hard time reading publicly as a kid, and now I am one of the best lector/proclaimers of the Gospel in my class.
Fr. Paul HoulisPeople would be surprised to know that I used to perform stand-up comedy in New York City, and was actually a dancer on an M.T.V. hip-hop show for awhile.
Fr. John Paul HudsonPeople would be surprised to know that I met Mother Teresa
Fr. Joseph JaskiernyPeople would be surprised to know that I worked as a computer programmer for six summers at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL.
Fr. Steven JekielekPeople would be surprised to know that I was a founding member of a community theater group and that I played a priest in a play a couple of years before entering seminary. When I walked out for the first time in clerics for a dress rehearsal, the actors and crew stopped everything and told me that it was a natural look for me. Nobody knew at the time that I was considering priesthood.
Fr. John JohnsonPeople would be surprised to know that I was an Episcopal Priest for 21 years, and I served some very wonderful parishes...but it is good to be home.
Fr. Cidouane Joseph OFMPeople would be surprised to know that I realized my vocation after I made a promise to God asking for a favor. From Haiti I came to the US (in 2002), where I worked in a Franciscan parish, and there I realized that my dream would come true by becoming a Franciscan.
Fr. Christopher KlusmanPeople would be surprised to know that I have been deaf since birth. I will become one of the several Deaf priests in the world.
Fr. Anthony KrusePeople would be surprised to know that I grew up on a family farm. After graduating from college, working for a state legislature and working in retail business, I felt that God was moving me to a different place. After much discernment, I entered seminary and here I am.
Fr. Zbigniew KukielkaPeople would be surprised to know that I first felt God's call while finishing high school, but I rejected it. During my study in the University I began the Neocatechumenal Way, and it helped me answer God's call.
Fr. Rodnev LapommerayPeople would be surprised to know that when I look back on my life, I realize that God had been calling me to and preparing me for this vocation, though I did not know it. Through much prayer and conversation with God, the Blessed Mother and my favorite saints and angels, I was able to discern God's call for me.
Fr. Fernando LaraPeople would be surprised to know that as a child I was discouraged by my mother regarding my vocation because she felt that the priesthood was a great task, but I learned to put my choices and thoughts in the hands of Mary. Mary helped me discern my vocation and to trust God. I also prayed to Saint Cristobal, a Mexican Martyr. Now I have full support from my mother, she pushes me to imitate Christ here on earth.
Fr. Brian LarkinPeople would be surprised to know that I came to my decision through my involvement as a student and staff member of FOCUS; giving of myself provided freedom for proper discernment.
Fr. Rafal LigenzaPeople would be surprised to know that I always wanted to be a priest because I raised in a very Catholic family. I was born in Poland, and that's why the Church has been always important to me.
Fr. Austin Litke OPPeople would be surprised to know that I entered seminary immediately after high school for my home diocese. Five years later I entered a religious community from diocesan seminary.
Fr. Christopher Todd LloydPeople would be surprised to know that I consider my attendance at a public high school to be an important part of my faith development and eventual formation in the seminary. It was through conversations with non-Catholics that curiosity in my own faith grew, eventually growing into a love for the Church.
Fr. Erick LopezPeople would be surprised to know that I was not a believer and that the most influential people for my religious vocation, the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, preached God to me more with example than with words.
Fr. Joel Lopez
Fr. P. Brent MaherPeople would be surprised to know that I professed to be a 'proud atheist' as a teenager. Thankfully the Lord spoke to my heart through the words of His priests and the love of my family, friends, and youth ministers, bringing me to experience His love and to know the vocation for which He created me. Never stop praying for those who have strayed.
Fr. Mark Francis ManzanoPeople would be surprised to know that I went through public school K-12. I never saw a nun in habit or a monk until I was 16 years old.
Fr. Ted MartinPeople would be surprised to know that I never would have dreamed about being a Catholic Priest. However, the Lord Jesus surprised me with His deep friendship and love! How good it is to give oneself fully to the Lord Jesus for the sake us His Church.
Fr. Jose MartinezPeople would be surprised to know that I was first interested in the priesthood when I was 5-6 years of age. That interest went away in my teenage and adolescent years. I see my ordination to the priesthood as a childhood dream coming true.
Fr. Jim McCabe
Fr. Ryan McCoyPeople would be surprised to know that my interest in the priesthood began in the first grade. The interest in the call to priesthood developed with Catholic role models like my grandmother, my first pastor, and many friends.
Fr. Alan McDonaldPeople would be surprised to know that I rediscovered my vocation to the Priesthood through the Neo-Catechumenal Way, while working in Israel, by the Sea of Galillee.
Fr. Joseph McQuaide IVPeople would be surprised to know that I am surprised by God's love for me more and more each day--in creating me, in loving me, and in calling me to serve Him and His Church as a priest of Jesus Christ. May God be praised!
Fr. Joel Medina S.J.People would be surprised to know that I met the Jesuits while seeking a spiritual director, and I made an Ignatian pilgrimage in 1993.
Fr. Leonar MejiaPeople would be surprised to know that I have had a dream to be a priest and to celebrate the mystery of our faith. My happiness will be to serve in the Church and in my parish.
Fr. Andre MelanconPeople would be surprised to know that I spent 9 weeks in Uganda during seminary formation. It was an experience that significantly impacted my journey of formation.
Fr. Joseph MinuthPeople would be surprised to know that thoughts about marriage and a successful career caused me to fear losing what I wanted most; giving up everything to serve God as a priest. I discovered this passionate desire after weeks, if not months, of a Daily Holy Hour.
Fr. Jorge Miramontes-MedinaPeople would be surprised to know that I did not consider the priesthood until I took a retreat on evil spirits who mess up our lives and vocations. All people should consider discerning evil spirits and their influence in our lives, asking the Lord to show them what their vocation in life is before making a life-changing decision.
Fr. Jose Alexander Gaitan MontesPeople would be surprised to know that I have a technological background in Finances and International Business. I also love working among indigenous communities.
Fr. George MukukaPeople would be surprised to know that I had been working for 10 years when I decided to consider my vocation to the priesthood.
Fr. Mark MurphyPeople would be surprised to know that I am a 5 handicap in golf and was recruited by many schools to play collegiate golf.
Fr. Tammylee NgoPeople would be surprised to know that I was just a regular man who came to the U.S. with a dream of having a free and better life, but I thought that the free and better life is only fulfilled when my life is rooted in the life of Christ Jesus. So, I joined the Conventual Franciscans in California. For me, priesthood gives me the opportunity to serve than to be served. It calls me to imitate Christ, the High Priest, to give witness to the world that God is the Ultimate Truth and the Everlasting Source of Love.
Fr. Dat NguyenPeople would be surprised to know that I considered becoming a priest after the sex abuse scandal of 2002. Without it I might not have entered the seminary.
Fr. Joseph Minh NguyenPeople would be surprised to know that I escaped from Vietnam by boat in 1990 and spent four years living in a refugee camp in Indonesia. In 1994 I came to the United States. My journey continues now as a religious priest, and I want to do something for people as a missionary in the Society of Divine Word.
Fr. Joseph Thang NguyenPeople would be surprised to know that I had three moments of rejection on my journey to the priesthood. First moment, it was after I graduated from High School in Vietnam, and I was stopped to enter to Seminary with the simple reason that I have relatives living in America. My second moment of rejection was that I did not have High School or G.E.D. diploma in America when I first come to live in The United States of America. My final rejection was my own rejection when I left Seminary after a year of study at Pontifical College of Josephium in Ohio with primary reason of cultural shock.
Fr. Nicolas NguyenPeople would be surprised to know that I am being ordained a priest after a long period of discernment.
Fr. Filbert NgwilaPeople would be surprised to know that I always had the desire to serve the people of God as a priest. From East Tanzania, Africa, I never knew where God was taking me; but here I am and happy to be a priest of God.
Fr. Guillermo J. OchoaPeople would be surprised to know that I have had such a great education despite coming from a very poor town. I've spent more than ten years in formation before being ordained a priest.
Fr. Bryan OchsPeople would be surprised to know that I chose to major in History as an undergraduate because I wanted to learn more about how the Church has impacted the world and my college did not offer a degree in Theology.
Fr. Michael OkechukwuPeople would be surprised to know that I once owned a restaurant. God still works his miracles even in our days. Who would have thought that the stories my mom told us about the three children of Fatima would be my inspiration to the priesthood?
Fr. Wojciech OleksyPeople would be surprised to know that I acted the role of a priest celebrating my first "Mass" in a play when I was still in kindergarten. Now, more than twenty years later, I will be able to truly celebrate my first Mass in May of 2011. Thanks be to God!
Fr. Phillip Owen
Fr. Marco PaccianaPeople would be surprised to know that I came back to the Church after having abandoned the practice of my faith.
Fr. Alfie PangilinanPeople would be surprised to know that I am originally from the Philippines and I never imagined that God would bring me to the United States to serve His people in the Archdiocese of Newark. I realize that if I really wanted to follow the Lord, I had to leave my job, my country, my place of comfort and my family to serve God and His people.
Fr. Michael ParisPeople would be surprised to know that I left the practice of the faith, to my parent's unhappiness, when I was 13. It was shortly after high school that I realized how much I needed Jesus Christ in my life and He brought about my conversion. Since 2001 I have been on an adventure of faith that has led me to the priesthood, which I would have never expected.
Fr. Jonathan PerrottaPeople would be surprised to know that even though I considered the priesthood when I was younger, I didn't hear God's call until I was 32!
Fr. Michael PetersonPeople would be surprised to know that I still love the "old" Church, and the truth that has lead me to this point.
Fr. Philip PettaPeople would be surprised to know that I converted to Catholicism when I was 48 and then went to seminary two years later.
Fr. Dominic PhamPeople would be surprised to know that I was 16 when I left Vietnam in 1989 as one of the boat people. After 4 years in a refugee camp in Malaysia, I settled in the United States and was blessed with a good education. By the grace of God, I entered the Divine Word Missionaries to help bringing the Good News to all.
Fr. Aaron PidelPeople would be surprised to know that I grew up in a charismatic, covenant community, attended Franciscan University of Steubenville, and ended up a Jesuit priest. I suppose this progression has its own logic, however, given the fact that the character of Jesuit priesthood has always been to leave familiar environs and to enlist in the great campaign of Christ, our companion and our King.
Fr. Daniel RajskiPeople would be surprised to know that I had the opportunity to talk with Pope Benedict XVI and participated in the funeral Mass of John Paul II. I was involved in international meetings of the Focolare Movement that made a big impact on my life; they weren't just opportunities to meet people, but moments for me to encounter Christ. My faith was deepend and my vocation was strengthened.
Fr. Manuel-Alfredo Razo CanalesPeople would be surprised to know that I was about to get married and had everything set up for the wedding before considering becoming a Priest.
Fr. Daniel ReaderPeople would be surprised to know that I stopped practicing the Catholic faith on a regular basis during my college years; but later I had a powerful reconversion experience in my late twenties once I better understood the mystery of our God as Trinity.
Fr. Timothy RenzPeople would be surprised to know that I donated my kidney to a fellow seminarian who is now a priest.
Fr. Marco ReynosoPeople would be surprised to know that I desired to become a priest even though my family always had other hopes for me. Fortunately now they know that God calls all types of persons with different talents.
Fr. Michael RochePeople would be surprised to know that I had a conversion experience while on a high school youth conference (as a chaperon), and experienced the connection between my intellectual assent to the faith and the burning love that Jesus had for me. My formation has been a nine year adventure that has included so many wonderful and prayerful people. I thank God for my vocation to the priesthood.
Fr. Ernesto RodriguezPeople would be surprised to know that when I was a child I liked to participate at Masses. At the offertory when the priest lifted the cup and the bread, I said to myself "I want to be there".
Fr. Benjamin RomeroPeople would be surprised to know that I paint and enjoy doing handicraft cards.
Fr. Keith RomkePeople would be surprised to know that I heard my call from the Lord the first time that I served at Mass. I was 18 yrs old, and I entered the seminary three weeks later.
Fr. Nicholas RottmanPeople would be surprised to know that I told my mother in eighth grade that I could never become a priest because I was so terrified of public speaking. I am still an introvert, but by God's grace I am able to do what needs to be done.
Fr. Alejandro Orlando Augustinus SaenzPeople would be surprised to know that I am a passionate person.
Fr. Jerome "Jerry" SchetterPeople would be surprised to know that I was told while sitting on a train in Germany that I was going to be a priest someday... this was by a priest I didn't know from another country whom I hadn't spoken too.
Fr. Joseph SeebauerPeople would be surprised to know that I was named after Saint Joseph, but my parents named me during their courtship five years before I was born when they decided that their second boy would be named Joseph. I was the second boy in the family, was born on the Feast of Saint Joseph (March 19th), and have had a strong devotion to Saint Joseph ever since.
Fr. Daniel SerbickiPeople would be surprised to know that I love finding Christ hidden in culture, from subway stations to video games.
Fr. Patrick SheridanPeople would be surprised to know that I have been married and divorced, am on very good terms with my ex-wife,and I have two grown children and four grandchildren. On November 20, 2010, I baptized my most recent granddaughter.
Fr. Jeremiah ShryockPeople would be surprised to know that I have found in Jesus Christ the answer to the restlessness of the human heart.
Fr. Giuseppe Maria SiniscalchiPeople would be surprised to know that throughout my life God repeatedly nudged me toward the priesthood but I resisted. After 9/11 and my mother getting sick with cancer, I asked myself what was the most important thing I could do What did the world need most? I had to admit that there was nothing more important and more needed than the love of Jesus Christ. So, despite much trepidation and uncertainty, I left the practice of law to experience the love of Christ more deeply and to share it with others.
Fr. John Solomon SolomonPeople would be surprised to know that I first thought about priesthood in my senior year of high school and entered seminary immediately after.
Fr. Nathan SparksPeople would be surprised to know that I was deeply affected by divorce as I grew up, which made the discernment of a vocation challenging, but God's grace filled me and helped me through every challenge.
Fr. Jeffrey StealeyPeople would be surprised to know that I am a man of an older vocation who is a father and grandfather that believes my life experience will be a help in ministry to God's people. I have lived many of the experiences our parishoners are living today.
Fr. Warren TanghePeople would be surprised to know that I came to believe what the Catholic Church believes as an Anglican priest. I remained in order to work for the reintegration of the Anglican church until it became tragically clear that the Anglican church's actions had removed any realistic possibility of reunion with the Roman Catholic Church in the forseeable future.
Fr. Dominic Toan Thien Thanh TranPeople would be surprised to know that I left my family and country behind to come to the USA in search of becoming a priest. It is a vocation which I could not fulfill in my country: a call to the priesthood, a call to love and serve God and His people.
Fr. Jose VanegasPeople would be surprised to know that I was planning to be in the military or to become a police officer. Now, I am at the service of the Lord.
Fr. Braden Wagner WagnerPeople would be surprised to know that I had never thought about the priesthood until I was in college, even though I had attended Catholic elementary, middle and high school. I considered it simply because a friend challenged me to ask God what He wanted me to do with my life.
Fr. Michael WagnerPeople would be surprised to know that I contacted a Jesuit vocational director. On my last interview with him he asked me, "Is there anything else you want to do before entering the seminary?" I replied, "Yes, I want to work in my profession, travel, and open a business." He replied, "Go, and do what you want to do. If you still have a calling, come back." It took me about ten years to complete my wants before I answer the need of my soul.
Fr. Kevin WaymelPeople would be surprised to know that I dropped out of high school.
Fr. Daniel WilliamsonPeople would be surprised to know that I was a truck driver and a jet mechanic. In college my best friends were in a punk band. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would end up a Catholic Priest, but I have never been happier in my life.
Fr. Jeffrey WilsonPeople would be surprised to know that I always wanted to be a family man since I was a child. After my conversion as a young man, I wanted it even more and tried to keep myself pure in anticipation for it, for the love of God, trusting He would fulfill what He planted in me. In my mid-forties, I realized He kept me for himself, to be a spouse of the Church and father to His children. God has exceeded my expectations for love and family, by serving His Church.
Fr. Grzegorz WojcikPeople would be surprised to know that I discovered my vocation through participation in the Catechesis of the Neocatechumenal Way, and by talking extensively with a homeless person who did not find anybody to help him or even listen to him.
Fr. Michael James Wood Jr.People would be surprised to know that I was in cub scouts/ boy scouts from a tiger cub all the way to an Eagle Scout.
Fr. Stephen ZeiglerPeople would be surprised to know that I initially entered the seminary in 1983 to study for the Franciscans/Cappuchins but discerned that this vocation to the priesthood was not for me.
Fr. Joaquin ZermenoPeople would be surprised to know that I have gotten so accustomed to the climate at the seminary, especially the winters, that I dread being at my diocese for the high summer temperatures.
Fr. Frank ZeroPeople would be surprised to know that I am an Eagle Scout. I thought about priesthood from since the age of five or six. As an adult there were some great priests in our vocation office and parish that encouraged me to pursue this vocation.
Fr. Matthew ZimmerPeople would be surprised to know that I worked as a computer programmer in Dallas, Texas for four years before entering the seminary.