School: Notre Dame Seminary2901 S. Carrollton AvenueNew Orleans, LA 70118
I was born in Lawrenceville and was raised most of my life in Snellville, going to high school at Brookwood. I have one younger brother who attends Georgia College; my parents still live in Snellville and attend St. Oliver Plunkett, a La Salette parish, where we’ve been parishioners for almost 20 years.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I get my nerd on with anything engineering and/or space related, especially with SpaceX or NASA. Interestingly enough, I also enjoy both “plain” singing and theatre; I was involved in community theatre/musical theatre for about 7 years and can repeat most of “Hamilton” if you ask. I’m weening myself off of video games and more into exercising, mostly by playing Pokemon Go (not really an actual video game and minimal walking).
What is one of your favorite scriptures?
Anything by St. Paul, but in particular Romans 5:3-5. “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
I love this passage because it acknowledges the reality that we’re not perfect, that we have our own tribulations and struggles in our lives, and yet Paul is helping us recognize the good that comes out of these afflictions because of God, which gives me (and should give you) courage to face these afflictions head-on with the knowledge that they’ll beget endurance, which begets character, which begets hope.
Also, the math idea of this being an example of the transitive property (A = B, B = C, so A = C) doesn’t hurt.
Who is your favorite saint and why?
I’ve had an affinity towards St. Augustine for a while because of his example that you’re never too far gone in the world to be rescued by God. However, recently I’ve gotten to learn more about St. Maximilian Kolbe. Up until a month ago, I had thought that he had been canonized solely because of his giving his life in the concentration camp in order to save another prisoner. However, I realized that he probably would have been canonized anyway, with his missionary work and almost supernatural love towards others. I am starting the book Forget Not Love, which details his life, and am excited to learn more about his life.
In a nutshell, what is your vocation story? How did you feel called to the priesthood?
I’ve been going back and forth for the last 7-8 years about whether I “wanted” to be a priest. In high school, I thought that this was the life for me. Then something changed, I went to Georgia Tech, and I thought I’d be a rocket scientist and work for NASA. Yet as I was finishing up my degree, I sensed that I was doing this wrong. Instead of asking, “What do I want with my life?” I needed to be asking, “What does God want with my life?” I learned at the Georgia Tech Catholic Center that the vocation that God calls you to will give you the most happiness out of all of them. Instead of using my short-term mind and little life experience to make a decision about my vocation, why not listen to trust our omniscient and omnipotent Lord instead? And so I began to really pray about my vocation, about what God was calling me to do, to make me truly happy. With the help of the GT chaplain and our vocations director, we decided that this path is where God is calling me at the moment.
What is seminary life like for you?
My favorite part of seminary life is honestly how structure it is. Here is where we are formed into men of God, whether that be ordained or not; the structure allows us to minimize the time we worry about our schedules, and to maximize the time we are formed through prayer.
Coming from an engineering background, I’ve been ecstatic about learning philosophy, a subject completely foreign to me until now. It’s motivating to see things we talk about in class remind me about real life discussions/ripples in our world, and how to understand those while spreading Truth.
What do you look forward to about being a priest?
If I end up getting ordained, God willing, I most look forward to having the opportunity to help others participate in the Sacraments, with a fuller understanding of their personal relationship to God and the graces He gives to them. I hope to help others reach for a more authentic relationship with God, so that they may find true freedom and happiness in their lives
8. What advice do you have for other guys thinking about the priesthood?
Aim towards holiness! Our primary vocation, for every single one of us, is to be holy. It is in striving towards holiness that one can start discerning the will of God in one’s life. Regularly attend Mass, go to confession, pray, and talk to a priest you trust about whatever you’re thinking/feeling. It seems the simplest thing to do, yet it’s almost always the hardest to implement. Aim towards holiness!