Parish: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Pulaski
Birth Date: October 10
Seminary: Mundelein Seminary
1000 E Maple Avenue
Mundelein IL 60060-1967
Intercessor: St. Paul, because this year I visited the place of St. Stephen’s martyrdom and the place of Paul’s trial in Caesarea Maritima, and I am being drawn more towards him and his teachings.
What is your baptismal day and in which church?
My baptismal day is Nov. 16, 1991, just two days after my confirmation day. It was at Assumption BVM Parish in Pulaski.
What is your favorite devotional and why?
It took a while for me to catch on to it, but in college I started praying the rosary more regularly. Someone told me that you should not discern a vocation without Mary being a part of it. Now I find praying the rosary daily to be a great help to my faith as I meditate on the mysteries and life of Jesus. Going to the Holy Land this past year further transformed my experience, as I got to visit all the actual places of the mysteries — except the Coronation of Mary.
What was one misconception you had about seminary and how did that change?
Going into seminary, I did not know much about it. However, I did get a chance to read the book “To Save a Thousand Souls,” which talks about the classes and usual daily routine of seminary life. One thing that surprised me was how much priests are expected to have learned before ordination. Not to scare anybody away, but I thought my final year of engineering school was difficult. Little did I know that a full course load of philosophy and religion would be just as formidable or more. That being said, I have greatly enjoyed my studies.
What would your life be like without a cellphone?
Some years ago, I decided to put my phone on vibrate at all times and switched to using a plug-in clock. That has been nice, but sometimes I still think I feel my phone vibrating in my pocket even though nobody is calling. Without the cellphone, I would not be thinking about it and about what I could do with it. Because of that, I would be more present to those around me. When it comes to making calls, I would have to use a landline or Internet phone, and people would have to have different expectations of how quickly I return their calls. There was a guy I read about who got rid of everything and just began writing letters instead. For him it was liberating, but I think we can learn to detach and see cellphones more as tools.
What is the funniest thing that happened to you in formation thus far?
When my class went to Galilee for our retreat before diaconate ordination, we first went for a boat ride out on the water. How picturesque! With rolling hills off to the west and east, scattered clouds and the shores and blue water Jesus walked on, you could not ask for much better. However, the captain of the boat had some bread with which we could attract and feed the seagulls. A friend of mine reached over and jokingly touched my head, trying to make me think that a seagull pooped on me. Just a moment later, as I was reclining on the bow of the boat, a large dollop of seagull poop landed on the top of my head! Apparently he is a seagull whisperer.
Who or what was the greatest influence in your discernment of the priesthood?
Having a group of guys my age to talk and pray about the priesthood was of great help to me in college. We could share our personal concerns and hopes while seeing how others were considering the same thing.
What does it mean to be a missionary disciple?
To be, or not to be, that is the question. It requires some decisions and grace. Disciples take on their faith for their own and let Jesus into the center of their lives. Then, missionary disciples invite and help others to do the same.