School: St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary
10701 S. Military Trail
Boynton Beach, FL 33436
Tell us about where you grew up and your family background?
I was born in California, then moved first to Connecticut and later to Florida, and finally after college I took a job in Atlanta and moved to Buckhead. My mom’s family is originally from Georgia and my dad lived in Roswell briefly while he was growing up, so while I am a “transplant” I also have family roots here. Nowadays my dad lives in New York City, and both my mom and sister live just outside of St. Augustine, FL. My mom’s extended family is largely Irish Catholic, and one of my relatives was a priest who served in both the Atlanta and Savannah dioceses.
What are your hobbies and interests?
Some of my favorite things to do are reading, running, playing soccer, playing Ultimate Frisbee, playing the drums, watching football, and hiking. I really like music, especially jazz, blues, folk, and rock from the 60s through the 90s— even though that would probably be a pretty weird combination all in one playlist. Growing up we watched a lot of movies, so a favorite pastime in my family is quoting and acting out scenes from our old favorites.
What is one of your favorite scriptures?
One of my all-time favorites is an excerpt from Hebrews 12:1-2:
“…let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.”
This passage helps to remind me that there is a delicate balance between working hard to do the job right in front of me every day while at the same time keeping my gaze focused intensely on Christ in his life, teachings, and example.
Who is your favorite saint and why?
It’s so hard to pick just one— but one of my favorites right now is St. Joseph. He is such a strong, positive figure for us all and particular for us men, and yet he is also mostly silent. He spoke largely through his actions and perseverance. He also plays an incredibly important role in the lives of Jesus and Mary and is a powerful intercessor. He was present first-hand at the Incarnation and Jesus’ early life, the coming together of both the human and the divine in our Lord, Jesus, and the spouse of our very own Queen and Mother— so I bet he has some great stories and insights that I hope he can share with us one day in Heaven!
In a nutshell, what is your vocation story? How did you feel called to the priesthood?
I was living and working in the Atlanta area after college, and through joining my local parish at Holy Spirit I started to ask deeper questions about the Catholic Church and about the Catholic faith. I found that the more I opened up to God in prayer, and to others through discussions and small groups, that I was being blessed with some incredible graces, something I had not realized in such a tangible way before. My home parish was becoming truly just that— a home for me. As I slowly grew in prayer and discipleship, I realized that there was something really special happening in my heart during the Mass, and I remember a few particular homilies where I felt so convicted to give my entire life to God— but I didn’t really know how in particular I was supposed to do that, or even if those feelings were truly meaningful or authentic. Through spiritual direction with a wonderful parish priest, and support from my friends, family, and parish, I saw how life-giving and how beautiful the priestly vocation and ministry really is, and I started to pray about my vocational desires between marriage and the diocesan priesthood. Continuing on the same theme, God seemed to pour out more and more graces upon me the more I opened myself up to the idea of the priesthood, and I have been earnestly trying to listen to what He wants for me and for my life ever since by discerning this amazing vocation.
What is seminary life like for you?
It’s so great. It is challenging, fun, exciting, exhausting, structured, freeing, and interesting— all at the same time. I am in formation at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, FL with eight other Atlanta seminarians and many more from other dioceses throughout the Southeast, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow here.
What do you look forward to about being a priest?
God willing, I look forward to being present to those who think that they don’t have anyone to talk to, or anyone to care about them, or anyone to pray for them. I hope to contribute to the beautiful tradition of parish life that we have here in the U.S. and particularly in the Archdiocese of Atlanta by journeying with both individuals and families of all different backgrounds, situations, joys, and struggles, through ministry, prayer, and the sacraments.
What advice do you have for other guys thinking about the priesthood?
Try to pray about the fact that God loves you more than you could possibly imagine— and then really try to open yourself up to Him in silent prayer. We can’t expect an answer to questions about our lives or our vocations if we don’t take time to listen! However, also remember that God will be able to lead you best if you truly let Him, which means after listening you will need to take the initiative at times to pursue discerning your vocation in an active way. While grace is a total gift, vocational discernment requires acting on what we receive in prayer. What are you called to do with the various gifts and talents that God has given you? I don’t know. But He does, and through your own personal prayer combined with staying close to Him in the Mass and in Reconciliation along with spiritual direction from a priest and discussion with the Vocations Director, He can and will show you how you can live the life for which He created you.