Year in Seminary: Theology – 4th Year
Home Parish(es): Presentation of Our Lady (1953-1968), Mother of God (1968 – present)
At what point in your life did your faith come alive? How did this happen?
I have had the blessing, through my parents, to be a lifelong practicing Catholic. When I became an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist at Presbyterian/St Luke’s Hospital, my life changed. I found people, in extraordinary circumstances, witnessing their faith to me. It changed my relationship with the Lord and my relationship with the sacraments.
When did you first consider becoming a priest? What made you consider it?
I had initially applied for the Permanent Deaconate Program. During the review of my application, the question was raised as to the vocation I was discerning; the question about the priesthood was asked point blank. For some reason, my answer was an immediate ’yes,’ but with the qualification that I did not think it was an option in my life. With that ’yes,’ the Lord began to prepare the way…
What did you do before you entered the seminary?
For 35 years I was energy and mineral adviser to the last four Colorado governors, and for 20 of those years an Adjunct Professor at the University of Denver. For the last 25 years I have been on the boards of The Salvation Army and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, 10 years on the Parish Council at Mother of God Parish, and a past District Governor of Serra USA. I was blessed to be caregiver to my parents until they went to be with the Lord at ages 94 and 99 1/2.
Name one person who influences your decision to go seminary. How did this person encourage you?
Father Frank Garcia is the second Denver graduate of Blessed John XXIII National Seminary. I spent six hours with him at his parishes in Eastern Colorado on January 2, 2009 — the last two hours in the back of the Church in Keenesburg in just the glow of the Tabernacle Lamp. At the end of my endless questions, while I had maybe been looking for the reason not to enter, he said, ’Just do it!”…and I did…
What was one of the most important things that helped you take the step into seminary?
I had been accepted into the Permanent Deaconate Program while discerning the priesthood. With a decision to be made, I found myself in the back of Holy Ghost Church on February 14, 2009. A small family Baptism was underway. At the conclusion, Father Jeremy Paulin OMV consecrated the baby to the Blessed Mother at her altar. At that moment, the Blessed Mother delivered me to her Son…and the answer was clear…
What do your family and friends think about you studying to be a priest?
It was a mixed response…some were thrilled, some neutral, and some tried to talk me out of it…sometimes insinuating very hurtful things. You see, everyone has their perception of our role in their life. But in the end, it is between you and God…so your faith in God’s perfect plan for your life must be absolute, your trust in the Lord unfailing, and your reliance on the Blessed Mother unending.
What do you enjoy most about the seminary?
Academically, I am celebrating the gifts of faith, the sacraments of the Catholic Church, and the virtues of the saints. Spiritually, it is a grace and a blessing to have a day structured around the Eucharist, personal and communal prayer, and time with the Lord in Adoration. Socially, I am an only child and waited 55 years to have brothers — I now have three of the best brothers I could have ever hoped to have.
How do you like to spend your free time?
It is an incredible blessing to be in New England. There are many shrines and religious sites only a short drive away. And, we make incredible friends along our journey — friends of the Seminary, the people at our parish assignments, and students at other seminaries. I am amazed at the people that have become part of my life on the East Coast…Praise God!
What is one thing you would like more people to know about you?
I am a sinner loved by the God of infinite second chances…following my Lord and Savior, listening to the Holy Spirit, and protected in the mantle of the Blessed Mother…I am blessed!
What would be your one piece of advice for a young man discerning his vocation?
Listen to God and follow your heart…there are no coincidences in life…God’s plan for you may be to bring someone to him…don’t foreclose that opportunity…
Describe your relationship with the Blessed Mother.
The Blessed Mother delivered me to her Son on February 14, 2009; on December 8, 2009, during our installation to the Order of Acolyte, I completed my Total Consecration to Mary. I have had the blessing of leading the new seminarians at Blessed John through the 33 day process in each subsequent year. During my discernment, I realized she has been my patroness all my life — the two parishes I have attended, and the Cathedral where I will be ordained from which my grandparents were buried in 1919 and 1920, are all dedicated to her — what a blessing!.
What is a good book for someone thinking about his vocation?
My most recent meditation has been on the SACERDOTII NOSTRI PRIMORDIA (100th Anniversary of St. John M. Vianney’s Death) — Encyclical of Pope John XXIII promulgated on 1 August 1959. With Blessed John as my patron, it is not only a wonderful reflection on the Patron Saint of Priests, it is a wonderful reflection on the priesthood. I would also recommend any book on the priesthood by Monsignor Stephen Rosetti — I quote him often.