School: Prince of Peace Catholic Church
6439 Spout Springs Road
Flowery Branch, GA 30542
Tell us about where you grew up and your family background.
I grew up in northeast Georgia in the City of Homer. I attended Banks County Middle and High School and went on to complete an undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia. My home parish is Saint Catherine Labouré in the City of Jefferson. I am the third oldest (second youngest) of four boys, and I have seven nephews (no nieces, yet!); I am the godfather to two of them.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy running, playing tennis and ping-pong, and reading anything written by C.S. Lewis.
What is one of your favorite scriptures?
One of my favorite scripture passages comes from the Book of Hebrews: Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 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. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. (Hebrews 12:1-4)
Who is your favorite saint and why?
I have a ‘squad’ of favorite saints including Saints (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta, Thérèse of Lisieux, Martha, Pope John Paul II. I am also drawn to the lives of Blessed Chiara Luce Badano and Pier Giorgio Frassati. Most recently, Saints Zelie and Louis Martin (the parents of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux) have captivated me. I find their letters to one another, their daughters, and family and friends absolutely beautiful. It is inspiring to peer into their daily life and see how God was sanctifying this entire family in their home.
In a nutshell, what is your vocation story? How did you feel called to the priesthood?
As a young boy, my parents helped me to become aware that I needed to discern whether God may be inviting me to marriage or the priesthood. This early awareness led me to understand that the virtues which would form me to be a good husband and father, were the same foundational virtues that would form me into a good and faithful priest. As I grew older, these virtues which I had been trying to cultivate helped me to see the goodness and beauty in both vocations; furthermore, they disposed me to ask the question: “God, what are you inviting me to choose? After college, I remember verbalizing to for the first time to my spiritual director: “I think I’m suppose to go to seminary and discern the priesthood.” In that moment, I felt a sense of peace and consolation which affirmed, for me, that ‘yes’, I’m meant to begin discerning the priesthood in seminary.
What is seminary life like for you?
Life in seminary is very demanding, but at the same time it is very fulfilling. Whether my vocation is to be a priest, or husband and father, I believe that everything I am receiving from seminary is truly forming me be to a well-integrated man. Seminary has helped me grow in all the major areas of my life. Spiritually, I have fallen deeper in love with the Triune God and the Church. Living in community with about one-hundred forty other seminarians has definitely helped me grow as a human-being. The courses I have taken at seminary has moved me to appreciate the treasury of wisdom passed on through the ages because of the Church. Finally, seminary life has cultivated in my heart a desire to do pastoral ministry.
What do you look forward to about being a priest?
I look forward to being a priest, and I am most excited about celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I cannot wait to bring Christ’s healing to people through this sacrament.
What advice do you have for other guys thinking about the priesthood?
If you are thinking about the priesthood, I encourage you to develop a disciplined life of prayer. Surround yourself with others who are thinking about the same thing or people who will support you in your discernment. Talk to a priest and find a spiritual director. Visit a seminary and go on a discernment retreat. If you reach the point where you believe God is no longer inviting you to just ‘think’ about the priesthood, talk with the Vocations’ Director in your (Arch)diocese. He may invite you to apply to seminary to continue your discernment in formation.