Q: Describe your educational and professional background before entering formation.
A: I graduated from the University of Colorado in the spring of 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration, emphasis in accounting.
Following my time at the University of Colorado, I worked as a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary for two years, one in Montana and one in North Dakota.
Q: What first interested you in the priesthood?
A: I really wasn’t interested in the priesthood; I cared much more about evangelization and I largely resisted the possibility of priesthood for a number of years.
My heart was first turned toward my vocation by the deep joy I found in helping others come to know Jesus—and seeing how desperately the people around me needed him. Through my service in FOCUS and prayer I saw more and more the beauty and necessity of priests.
Q: When did you first feel called to the priesthood?
A: I first felt the call my senior year of college. It really scared me because I had other plans, but one of my roommates left college to enter seminary, and his decision shocked me into being more open to God’s will in my life.
Q: What ultimately led you to enter the seminary?
A: The only thing that can really sustain a vocation is God’s call. I came to seminary and stayed because I have somehow become convinced that this is God’s will for my life. At a certain point I knew I had to enter to find out, I would never be at peace if I didn’t at least give God that chance.
Q: Where did you find support for your call to the priesthood?
A: Support has come from my family members who have loved me even if not all of them really understood; there is also a strong bond between men who are called to something greater than themselves.
My brother seminarians, especially those in my class, have undergone the same trials, doubts and hopes as I have; there is something powerful in that. For myself and a few of the other guys, we have found a very strong form of this in the brotherhood of the Companions of Christ (a fraternity).
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the priesthood?
A: Celebrating the Mass and preaching the Gospel.
Q: What do you find most daunting about the priesthood?
A: St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:16, “who is sufficient for these things,” referring to his ministry. I feel the same general insufficiency. A priest is called to be Jesus Christ for the Church, and so I don’t find any one particular thing as daunting as the knowledge of whose shoes I am called to stand in.
Q: What has been your favorite class or aspect of seminary life?
A: My favorite class was our course on the synoptic Gospels; but a close runner-up would be pastoral theology. The best aspect of seminary is having a curfew which is earlier than the one for the high school kids I have taught (just kidding).
Q: What is your favorite pastime?
A: Getting out of the city for a long run.
Q: Is there a particular talent or gift you feel you bring to the seminary community and, eventually, to the Church as a whole?
A: I have a great love for Scripture and for teaching it.
Q: In today’s world, a call to celibacy is seen as radical, if not impossible. How have you reconciled the priesthood’s call to celibacy with this challenging cultural perspective?
A: Celibacy is radical, and most people don’t understand it; but the same is true for the Gospel as a whole. I find that many conversations about celibacy are engaged at a superficial level, and that is how the world tends to view the faith.
Celibacy, however, is a beautiful gift, and one which defies trite answers. I also can’t say that I look to the world to understand sexuality, but to Christ, Mary and the Church.
Q: Can you recall a particular moment when you have been called to give testimony to your faith, or more particularly, to your vocation to the priesthood?
A: For three years of my seminary time I was really involved with the youth group from my home parish of St. Frances Cabrini. During that time I was mostly leading Bible studies for high-school aged young men. It was tremendously formative and rewarding for me, and through the study of Scripture I was able to watch a number of men encounter the Lord in a powerful way.
Q: How do you feel about this significant step, being ordained to the diaconate, in your priesthood formation?
A: I feel both very excited and also a little trepidation. I am grateful to the Lord for my vocation and excited to serve the Church. I hope and pray that I will be a worthy steward of God’s mysteries.