School: Notre Dame Seminary
2901 S. Carrollton Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118

Background

Originally, I was born in San Bernardino California, when I was about 4 my family moved to Marietta Ga, from their I moved around to different locations until finally settling in Dawsonville Ga where I graduated from High school and also attended my home Parish Christ Redeemer Catholic Church under Fr. Brian Higgins. In regards to my family, I am the eldest son of Lucy and Matthew Jenkins, beneath me are my younger siblings Alondra Ramirez and Jonathan Jenkins.

What are your hobbies and interests?

When coming to my hobbies and interest, I love literature, music and art. I also enjoy drawing and painting, running, playing soccer, volleyball, football, and going on intense hiking trips and camping out in the wilderness.

What is one of your favorite scriptures?

My Favorite piece of scripture is the story of The Prodigal son, mainly because I believe it captures an accurate depiction of who God really is and how we are to live out our lives according to God. How we are both the sinful disobedient son and the loving merciful Father who rejoices to see his son still alive, this then just conveys the message that we have a merciful loving God who is longing for us always no matter how sinful we are.

Who is your favorite saint and why?

My Favorite Saint would have to be Saint Augustine, mainly because of a personal relation to his conversion story. How at one point he was a grave sinner with immoral values who then encountered Christ in such a profound and intense way that he dedicate his life and service to Christ naming him the Party animal of the Catholic Church to becoming one of the greatest saints of all time. It is by his conversion that really hit me to understand that no matter what we have done and how bad we have been one moment can turn it all around for us and gives us the opportunity to discover our true potential with the help of Christ.

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

Briefly, my vocation story is this. I was first introduced to the Priesthood my sophomore year of high school after my Pastor Brian Higgins moved into our home Parish, at first I found it very interesting how he was quite young to be a priest and how he was a normal person like myself. Soon after he talked to me about Vocations and sent me on a Quo Vadis discernment retreat where I learned what a vocation was, who seminarians were and how a man becomes a priest. After the retreat, I remembered this idea of becoming a priest became implanted in the back of my mind and that the thought would come up more and more from time to time.

It was during the rest of my time in High school that I began to deepen my spiritual life and became intellectually interested in the teaching and sacraments of the church, I also began to Altar serve and understand the meaning of the Mass and then began to fall in love with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I became so interested in my faith that it started to show exteriorly to my family and friends so much to the point that they would tease me about being a priest and that I was going to be the one in our group of friends that became a priest.

After I graduated High school I went off to Denver for six months for Mission work where the thoughts of Priesthood still lingered within my head, when I came back I went on another discernment retreat where I learned what seminary life was like and how all the men there are testing their call to the priesthood. After that, I worked for a lifeguarding company for a few months until Fr. Higgins asked me if I wanted to visit one of the seminaries on a “come and see”, I of course answered yes and went on not knowing what to expect. When arriving at the seminary I was completely blown away by the beauty of the campus and being touched by the spiritual atmosphere of the campus and encountering all the seminarians who were no older than I was and seeing them ask the same question I was asking myself, is this for me? It was at the mass that weekend that I felt this sense of peace, longing and desire begin to tug at me and it was there that I realized that I need to come here. Soon after the Come and See, I followed up with the Vocation Director, finished the application over the summer, and was accepted into the seminary in June, two months before I had to be at the seminary. Since then I have enjoyed every waking moment of being a seminarian, there have been joyful times and there have been challenges, but with the grace of God and prayer it has been an amazing journey and I look forward to what God has stored next.

What is seminary life like for you?

Seminary life for me is like being at a regular college, except everyone is Catholic monks, priest, philosophy and theology professors teach us, we have Mass every day and we pray together every day as well. Overall, it is a great place where one can develop a deep appreciation for beauty of the liturgy, deepen their spiritual life and grow into a man of God.

What do you look forward to about being a priest?

God willing I become a priest I look forward to celebrating the Sacraments and being able to bring people closer to God and leading them to a true encounter with the Lord.

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

For anyone who is discerning a vocation to the Priesthood I say, “Give it a shot.” There is nothing wrong with giving God some of your time, it is not a waste if you truly believe that this is what God is calling you to, give him the opportunity to lead you and help you find out. A wise monk once told me, “The worst thing that can happen to you is that you graduate with a four year degree, and you become a better Catholic man.”