School: Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
Mundelein, IL 60060

Background

My parents divorced when I was very young, but I was blessed enough to have them both in my life throughout my childhood. My dad is married now, and I have a step sister. I lived mostly with my mom growing up, but I went to my dad’s house every other weekend. When I was with my mom, we went to St. Brendan the Navigator in Cumming, GA. When I was with my dad and step mom, we went to North Point, a non-denominational mega-church in Alpharetta, GA. My parents did a great job of instilling in me Christian virtues. I began going to Mass every weekend once I was confirmed in high school and could drive myself to Mass even on the weekends when I was at my dad’s house. I graduated from Lambert High School where I played football and ran track. I went to Georgia Tech to study chemical engineering and minor in energy systems. It was at Georgia Tech that my faith really came alive with the help of the Catholic Center community and the FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionaries.

What are your hobbies and interests?

I love playing football, baseball, basketball, soccer, bowling, ultimate frisbee, and racquetball. My favorite sports teams are the Green Bay Packers (my whole family is from Wisconsin), the Atlanta Braves, and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. I was a teaching assistant at Georgia Tech, and I absolutely love teaching others and helping them understand things they want to learn. I also enjoy listening to classic rock and playing video games with friends. I like listening to podcasts to pass the time and learn about all kinds of things during car rides.

What is one of your favorite scriptures?

Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Who is your favorite saint and why?

I chose St. Joseph as my Confirmation saint because I wanted to be a good father like my dad was to me, and he is the patron saint of fathers. In the Scriptures, St. Joseph never speaks. He is completely a man of action, and I firmly believe that actions speak louder than words. He lived out the vocation that God called him to even though it wasn’t what he had envisioned for himself originally. As a priest, I will be a spiritual father, so he is still my favorite saint. He has been a big help in my discernment process, and I ask for his intercession constantly.

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

I didn’t start thinking about the priesthood until I was in college when the vocations director at the time (Fr. Tim Hepburn) held a discernment Q&A event at the Georgia Tech Catholic Center, and a thought popped into my head. “You’ve never even asked God what He wants you to do. Why not ask Him and pray about it now?” I started praying about it, attended a couple discernment retreats for Georgia Tech students, and began spiritual direction with the chaplain of the Catholic Center (Fr. Josh Allen). At one point, I concluded from an intellectual standpoint that I wasn’t going to be able to fully discern my vocation without going to seminary. But I still had a lot of resistances in my heart to pursuing God’s will. I went to a FOCUS conference over Christmas break that year and had a very powerful experience in prayer during Eucharistic Adoration. It was the closest I had ever felt to Jesus, and He told me He wanted me to be a priest. He helped to connect my head and my heart, so that I not only knew I needed to go but also wanted to go to seminary. I was accepted as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Atlanta after finishing my degree at Georgia Tech.

What is seminary life like for you?

Seminary formation is a very holistic process because the seminary cares about my mind, my body, and my soul. Everything that goes on the seminary is meant to make me a holy, healthy, and happy future priest. I pray a lot both by myself and with others, and I take great classes in philosophy and theology. In my spare time, I like to exercise or hang out with my fellow seminarians. I have grown very close to Jesus during my time in seminary, and I have learned a lot about our Catholic faith. It is also great to hang out with a bunch of other guys who love Jesus and are seeking to grow closer to Him.

What do you look forward to about being a priest?

I look forward to being involved in people’s lives, helping them grow deeper in their faith, and bringing them to know Jesus on a personal and intimate level. Since teaching became one of my passions in college, I love explaining and unpacking not just what the faith is but why the Church teaches certain things. I want to help people understand the beauty and genius of the Catholic faith. I have developed a deep desire for spiritual fatherhood because that is what a lot of people today really want and need. I am also really looking forward to making Jesus present in our world through the Eucharist and the other Sacraments.

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

Know that Jesus wants what is best for you and that what’s best for you will make you incredibly happy. Ask Him what He wants for you. Pray every day. Prayer is the most important thing for any Christian because it’s how we deepen our relationship with the Holy Trinity. It is okay to have doubts, fears, resistances, and concerns. Talk about them with God, your family, your friends, and priests you trust. The last thing you want to do is keep everything bundled up inside and hidden. Finally, seminary is a place to more fully and intentionally discern God’s call to the priesthood and to see whether He in fact is calling you to be a priest.