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

Background

I am Juan Carlos Villota Viteri, and I am from Colombia. My hometown is Pasto and it is in the west southern Colombia. I have two sisters and two nieces.

What are your hobbies and interests?

I love to read, listen to music, watch movies and play soccer and video games.

What is one of your favorite scriptures?

I really like the passage of the First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13 where it talks that there is nothing more perfect than love.

Who is your favorite saint and why?

My favorite saint is San Felipe Neri, because he is the saint of joy and he showed with his life God’s smile.

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

My vocation story begins when I was 15. I was far from the Church even I did not want to prepare for the sacrament of the Eucharist. One of the things that motivated me to know about faith was the testimony of life of my catechist. In addition, God spoke through many people and situations that made me see the love God has for me. Thus, I could see there my own salvation history. After having received the sacrament of the Eucharist at age 15, I started to prepare for confirmation and participate more in the life of the Church. My parish was under care of a religious community called The Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. I started to love the charisma and work such as missions, retirement home, schools, parishes and chaplaincies. But one of the things that motivated me were the missions. Bring a message of hope and love to communities that do not have the opportunity to enjoy the Eucharist and the Word of God for lack of a priest. Communities affected by violence and poverty, it motivated me to follow Jesus the Good Shepherd to be an instrument of his joy and love.

What is seminary life like for you?

Seminary life is a stage where we are looking to fall in love with God. Furthermore, it is a time to discern our call through intellectual, human, pastoral and spiritual preparation. All these are to give reason of our faith and share that love with everyone.

What do you look forward to about being a priest?

I want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus as the Good Shepherd because I feel loved by God it awakens in my heart the desire to love and serve with joy.

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

My advice is that we should discover that love of God that is present every day in our lives. Recognizing that unconditional love, our hearts will rejoice, and we wanted to give a generous response. This is possible if we give the opportunity to act to God in our lives through of prayer. San Felipe Neri said “Joy is the fruit of an intimate encounter with God.”