Home » Worship/Sacraments » Vocations » Priesthood » Vocation Stories

Vocation Stories

quote Collopy 2020

Christian Collopy

Your Hometown: Rochester, NH
Your Home Parish: Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
Your Current Age: 19
Your Favorite Pastimes: Watching sports
Your Favorite Food: Cheeseburger
Your Favorite Saint: St. Padre Pio

What did you do before entering seminary?
Before I entered seminary, I was homeschooled, I was on a ski racing team, I participated in a Catholic youth group, and I was very active in the Boy Scouts.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
I first thought God was calling me to be a priest when I was 8 years old and a priest from New York told me that God was calling me to be a priest.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
The most challenging part of being a seminarian for me has been getting used to the attention that a lot of people give me. I'm a reserved person so making myself more open has been challenging.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
The most rewarding part of being a seminarian has been feeling God's love through his people and knowing that people are constantly praying for me.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
The advice I would give is to pray about your calling from God, talk to your pastor, and consider having spiritual direction before you enter the seminary if you feel God is calling you to the seminary. Talk to other seminarians as well because they are also discerning if being a priest is their vocation. My last piece of advice is to not be distracted by the noise of the world but to focus on God.

Please pray for Christian Collopy and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Christian at: Mr. Christian Collopy, c/o Our Lady of Providence Seminary, 485 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908.

Support seminarians like Christian Collopy, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection

quote Gagnon 2020

David Gagnon

Your Hometown: Manchester, NH
Your Home Parish: St. Anthony of Padua, Manchester, NH
Your Current Age: 26
Your Favorite Pastimes: Spending time with family and friends, reading, exercising
Your Favorite Food: Pasta
Your Favorite Saint: St. Anne

What did you do before entering seminary?
I was a police officer.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
In hindsight, I feel that I was drawn to the priesthood during a particular Easter Vigil when I was still a child, possibly at the age of 8 or 9. However, I was unable to adequately articulate this desire until I was in high school.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
At times, balancing a busy schedule can be difficult but it also enables me to better appreciate the time that I have off.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
Seminary provides a unique atmosphere which has allowed me to deepen my relationship with Christ and be better formed as a Catholic man intending to serve the people of God.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
Discernment is a process and that takes time. Allowing oneself to be led by the Holy Spirit, listening to the Lord in prayer, and frequently receiving the sacraments is essential. I would also encourage him to become acquainted with his pastor and get involved at his local parish.

Please pray for David Gagnon and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to David at: Mr. David Gagnon, c/o St. Meinrad Seminary,  200 Hill Drive, St. Meinrad, IN 47577

Support seminarians like David Gagnon, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection.

quote Gorewitz 2020 v2

Ben Gorewitz

Your Hometown: Laconia
Your Home Parish: St. André Bessette, Laconia
Your Current Age: 21
Your Favorite Pastimes: Skiing, reading, fishing
Your Favorite Food: Chicken parmesan
Your Favorite Saint: Saint Thomas Aquinas

What did you do before entering seminary?
Before entering seminary I was attending Bishop Brady High School.

When did you first think that God might be calling you to be a priest?
I first felt the call to the priesthood when I was fourteen.

What has been the most challenging part of being of being a seminarian?
The most challenging part of being a seminarian is not being in a parish full time. In seminary, we often talk about parish life in the future as a priest, but in the seminary, while there is time to experience parish life, most of the year is spent at the seminary.

What is the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part of being a seminarian is knowing, if it is in God’s wilI, that I will be able to participate in Christ’s priesthood and help lead souls to Him.

What advice would you give a man considering a vocation to the priesthood?
I would say two things. First, pray, pray, pray! In order to know what God wants for your life, you have to make sure you are listening to Him always. Second, it if God is leading you to it, seriously consider seminary. Seminary is a place of discernment. If you truly give yourself to God, and if He wants you to be a priest, then you will be a priest. If not, He will tell you. The role of seminary is to help men discern what God’s call is in their lives.

Please pray for Benjamin Gorewitz and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Ben at: Mr. Benjamin Gorewitz, c/o Our Lady of Providence Seminary, 485 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908

Support seminarians like Benjamin Gorewitz, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection.

quote Mikolajewski 2020 v2Daniel Mikolajewski

Your Hometown: Bydgoszcz, Poland
Your Home Parish: St. Nicholas, Bydgoszcz 
Your Current Age: 32
Your Favorite Pastimes: Literature (reading and writing), hiking, horseback riding
Your Favorite Food: Shahi Korma
Your Favorite Saint: Saint Joseph

What did you do before entering seminary?
I entered seminary right after finishing high school in Poland. I relocated to the United States in 2013, and lived in Chicago and Detroit. I entered Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Michigan in 2018.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
After Confirmation, at the age of about fifteen. I did not fully respond to God's calling until I turned 18.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
Studying for the priesthood of Christ is a constant battle with one's own weakness, a process of ongoing conversion. An indispensable element of the life of vocation is imitating the Master on His way to the Cross, and a soul must be ready to overcome obstacles which originate not only from the world's hostility, but also from one's own sinfulness. Still, this is the way a man can become a saint. It may not be easy, but nothing of value is ever easy.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
The most rewarding part of being a seminarian is having the privilege to serve Christ, to perpetuate His mission of salvation on earth, and to lead souls to Him. We know that on the day we stand before the altar, offering Christ's sacrifice, all of our own sacrifices will have been small in comparison, yet worthwhile. The priesthood allows a man to participate in realities which are unobtainable to angels.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
Prayer, especially a strong devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady. And after that, perseverance, perseverance, perseverance.

Please pray for Daniel Mikolajewski and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Daniel at: Mr. Daniel Mikolajewski, c/o Parish of the Holy Spirit, 173 Main Street, Keene, NH 03431.

Support seminarians like Daniel Mikolajewski, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection.

quote Moynahan 2020 v2

Joseph Moynahan

Your Hometown: Eliot, Maine
Your Home Parish: Corpus Christi, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Your Current Age: 32
Your Favorite Pastimes: Reading, calligraphy, skiing, tubing, fishing, SCUBA diving, going to the beach, sports, skating, card games.
Your Favorite Food: depends on the day.
Your Favorite Saint: That's tough, it's like asking 'who is your favorite sibling?' Aside from Our Lady, I have a deference to: St. John Paul II, St. Padre Pio, St. John Vianney, St. Faustina, St. Therese, St. Teresa of Jesus, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. John of the Cross, St. Leo the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Benedict, St. John the Apostle, St. Joseph.

What did you do before entering seminary?
Before entering St. John's I worked as an RN for six years. The kind of nursing I primarily worked in was critical care, ICU and then interventional cardiology in a cardiac catheterization lab.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
As far back as I can remember I had a desire to be a priest I was inspired by John Vianney and Padre Pio, but as I grew older this supernatural desire became something I feared and for a time I ignored it despite its quiet presence in my then restless heart. It wasn't until a graced retreat that I realized that God can be trusted and this desire deserves to be explored with authentic discernment and prayerful pondering.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
Getting out of the Lord's way. Holiness and doing the will of God, which for me is formation for the priesthood, can easily become a task that we think we have to do on our own and by our own works, but in reality it's the Lord's work that I'm privileged to partake in.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
Basically, getting to know and therefore love God and the Church in a far deeper way than I could have ever imagined prior to my coming to the seminary. How is that rewarding? Well, because from that love of God flows a love of people and an ardent desire to bring Christ, or rather, be an instrument of Christ to his people. Participating in such a task is the most rewarding thing in the world.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
DO NOT BE AFRAID! What do you fear? Being transformed into Christ? My friend that is the goal of the Christian life! Do you fear that He will take something from you that you desire? Brother, what He would take from you is that which harms you, but He does so only so that He can give you a share in His divinity and what is better than God! Do you fear the future? Do you think that the Providential God who is love and goodness itself will abandon those who give their life to Him? Do you fear your past? Let me tell you, you are not the sum total of your failures and mistakes but rather you are the sum total of the Father's love for you, and your capacity to become an image of the Son. Become intimate with the Person of Jesus through the Sacraments. Find a Saint who inspires you and ask for their help, also ask Our Lady to help you hear Jesus' voice. Come to the Andrew Dinners and various events in the diocese that Fr. Matt and the vocation team puts out, and ask for a priest to be a spiritual director so as to help discern the Lord's action in your life. There's nothing to be afraid of!

Please pray for Joseph Moynahan and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Joseph at: Mr. Joseph Moynahan, c/o St. John's Seminary, 127 Lake Street, Brighton, MA 02135

Support seminarians like Joseph Moynahan, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection.

quote Nadeau 2020

Andre Nadeau

Your Hometown: Lancaster, NH
Your Home Parish: Gate of Heaven Parish
Your Current Age: 25
Your Favorite Pastimes: Music, paintball, target shooting, camping
Your Favorite Food: Mom’s shepherds pie
Your Favorite Saint: St. Pope JPII, St. Maximillian Kolbe

What did you do before entering seminary?
I worked as a land surveyor across ME, NH, and VT for my father’s company, Horizons Engineering. I also started a young adult group, played bass in our family band, taught youth ministry, and served as a counselor for Camp Eagles Cliff in Center Harbor.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
The thought initially came to my mind in high school, but I was pursuing a relationship at that time. After graduating from White Mountain Community College in Berlin, I found I really enjoyed service and ministry work. I focused my attention there, and that passion led me to make the decision to apply for seminary. Priests offer their whole lives in service to the Church; I hope God is calling me to this vocation!

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
Being away from home is certainly challenging. I grew up in a small town, homeschooled, with nine siblings, lots of land, and an active family environment.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
God has placed amazing people and opportunities in my life since my decision to join seminary. It is so rewarding to make new friends, grow in my spiritual life, and give every moment of myself to Christ in service to His Church! I also am finding new ways to serve and love my family.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
I would say do not rush your discernment. I entered seminary at age 24, and am very happy with the accomplishments and adventures I undertook since graduating high school. That time allowed me to grow immensely in my love of service to the Church!

Please pray for Andre Nadeau and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Andre at: Mr. Andre Nadeau c/o Our Lady of Providence Seminary, 485 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908

Support seminarians like Andre Nadeau, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection.

quote Nguyen 2020

Cuong Van Nguyen

Your Hometown: Nghe An, Vietnam
Your Home Parish: Ke Gai Parish, the Diocese of Vinh
Your Current Age: 35
Your Favorite Pastimes: Soccer, watching movies, walking on the beach
Your Favorite Food: Steak, Pho, seafood, salad
Your Favorite Saint: Saint Peter, Saint John Vianney, Saint Teresa of Jesus

What did you do before entering seminary? 
I had been a Jesuit for four years before I became a seminarian of the diocese of Manchester. I had been sent to Japan for two years to study Japanese and engage in apostolic works.  

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest? 
I have desired to be a priest since I was in the second year of high school. I believe that my desire comes from God who is calling me to be a priest. Throughout my high school time, this sense of being called and the desire to be a priest persisted. I desire to be a priest of God and a priest for others.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian? 
As an international seminarian in the Diocese of Manchester, the most challenging part of my formation is the cultural adaptation and language. However, because of my relationship with others in the Diocese, I get along, and the process of formation that the seminary offers is so important and helpful for me to face challenges and to participate in the Diocese of Manchester.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part? 
The most rewarding part of being a seminarian is to have the opportunity to know God more, to love God more, and to serve God better by serving others. Therefore, we can be witnesses of Truth, Love and Peace for the world.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
“My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cr 12:9). God will give you enough grace to discover your vocation in life. Do not be afraid to be a part of God’s plan in your life. The Church needs you and needs holy priests (priests of God and priests for others). The more you are generous, the more you receive. Do not be afraid because God will be with you.

Please pray for Cuong Van Nguyen and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Cuong at: Mr. Cuong Van Nguyen, Holy Apostles Seminary, 33 Prospect Hill Road, Cromwell, CT 06416.

Support seminarians like Cuong Van Nguyen, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection.

quote Ouellette 2020

Eric Ouellette

Your Hometown: Epping NH, currently living in Hampton
Your Home Parish: St. Joseph’s Parish, Epping NH
Your Current Age: 24
Your Favorite Pastimes: Hiking, reading sci-fi & fantasy novels
Your Favorite Food: Probably chicken parmesan, but I’ll eat almost anything
Your Favorite Saint: St. Thomas Aquinas, unless I’ve lost something. Then it’s St. Anthony

What did you do before entering seminary? 
I went to the University of New Hampshire for my bachelor’s in computer engineering. I also worked at the UNH Interoperability Lab, testing ethernet devices during that time.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
I first considered it when I was about 8 years old and had been thinking about it on and off ever since. I really began to take it seriously after my freshman year of college.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
The change from engineering to philosophy has been a tough challenge, but my professors have been great at helping me to understand everything that we’re learning.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
Seeing the whole community of guys in my class grow closer together and share how we all came to seminary has been incredibly rewarding.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
Find a community of people who will support and encourage you as you try to discover God’s plan for your life and be open to whatever that plan may be.

Please pray for Eric Ouellette and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Eric at: Mr. Eric Ouellette, c/o St. Meinrad Seminary,  200 Hill Drive, St. Meinrad, IN 47577

Support seminarians like Eric Ouellette, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection.

quote LeQuang 2021

Phong Le Quang

Your Hometown: Vietnam
Your Home Parish: Thanh Tan Parish
Your Current Age: 30
Your Favorite Pastimes: reading, listening music, and soccer
Your Favorite Food: Vegetable, chicken
Your Favorite Saint: Saint Joseph, Saint Anthony, Saint Teresa of Jesus.

What did you do before entering seminary?
Before entering Saint John’s seminary, I lived in a parish while I was studying at university in my home diocese in Vietnam. After I graduated from the university, I moved to another parish to receive further vocational training. At that time, I attended some activities, such as sports, musical programs, retreats, catechism classes, etc… Most of the time I lived in parishes to get many experiences to become a good priest in the future.

When did you first think that God might be calling you to be a Priest?
When I was a child, I really liked seminarians who wore the cassock, it looked beautiful. During studying at high school, I attended a vocations group in my parish and in another parish with about 40 young people who wanted to become a priest. This was the first time I thought about my vocation as the idea was new to me. I spent a lot of time praying to discern my vocation. As the result, I have recognized that God has been calling me.

What has been the most challenging part of being a seminarian?
Being a seminarian of the Diocese of Manchester and studying at Saint John’s Seminary in the United States, has had many challenges, such as language barriers, cultural adaptation, and getting used to American food. But through it all I have realized that God is calling me to be a priest, so I feel comfortable studying here. I feel grateful and blessed to learn a new language, new culture, and new food. Luckily, I really like the American food now, such as pizza and hamburgers which I did not like before. I also love to talk with native English speakers so that they can help me improve my communication and listening skills.

What has been the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part for me is the care and love from priests, seminaries, and professors. I have received many graces of God’s mercy through people who live around me and listen to me when I need someone to talk with. I have learned how to care and comfort others.

What advice would you give a man considering a vocation to priesthood?
I would ask “have you ever had the thought that God is calling you to be a priest?” Open your heart to talk with him and love him. If you want to serve the people of God including the poor, the needy, the lonely. If you feel you love God so much and you also feel that God loves you too, if you love praying or practicing contemplative meditation, I think that God might be calling you. You should answer him and follow his call.

Please pray for Phong Le Quang and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Phong at: Mr. Phong Le Quang, c/o St. John's Seminary, 127 Lake Street, Brighton, MA 02135

Support seminarians like Phong Le Quang, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection.

quote Temkkit 2020

Guillaume Temkkit

Your Hometown: Lancaster, NH 
Your Home Parish: Gate of Heaven Parish
Your Current Age: 20
Your Favorite Pastimes: Chinese Checkers
Your Favorite Food: Maple Bacon Pizza
Your Favorite Saint: St. Michael the Archangel

What did you do before entering seminary?
I was a homeschooled student who worked at a wine cellar as a bus-boy for a summer job. I later did one year at a different college before I transferred to Providence.

When did you first think that God might be calling you to be a Priest?
I was around 13 when I first felt the call to seminary. Being deep in my faith, I thought priesthood may be for me even though I wanted something else for my life at the time, and it took time for me to learn that God's plan was better than my own.

What has been the most challenging part of being a seminarian?
The studies at school have been difficult, as well as managing my multiple responsibilities. Luckily, many of my brother seminarians were familiar with this problem and knew exactly how to help me with advice.

What has been the most rewarding part?
Being in a deeper form of discernment helps me to know exactly where I stand with my possible calling and with God. Being in this great environment has helped me to be very productive in my faith.

What advice would you give a man considering a vocation to priesthood?
Pray to God and seek an available priest you are close to to be your spiritual director. You don't need to be certain that you are called to be a priest before you enter seminary. I was certain on joining the seminary even though I still am unsure if God is calling me to priesthood.

Please pray for Guillaume Temkkit and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Guillaume at: Mr. Guillaume Temkkit, c/o c/o Our Lady of Providence Seminary, 485 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908

Support seminarians like Guillaume Temkkit, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection.

quote Traynor 2020

Rory Traynor

Your Hometown: Chester, NH
Your Home Parish: Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Hampton
Your Current Age: 25
Your Favorite Pastimes: Drawing, watching movies, spending time with friends and family.
Your Favorite Food: Spaghetti with meat sauce
Your Favorite Saint: St. Peter

What did you do before entering seminary?
I worked for my father in his accounting office and for my brother in his repairs and maintenance company. I also enjoyed some amateur acting and hiking.

When Did You First Think That God Might Be Calling You to Be A Priest?
I was about 6 or 7. I was with my Dad and he had taken me to my first Mass. Evidently I came home telling my Mom that I wanted to be a priest.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Part of Being a Seminarian?
Learning to trust God, and believing that He is infinitely trustworthy.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Part?
Realizing that God's hand is in everything that happens, from the most profound to the most mundane.

What Advice Would You Give a Man Considering a Vocation to Priesthood?
Talk to somebody, preferably a priest. We were not meant to take any journey on our own, and God has put these people in your life for a reason.

Please pray for Rory Traynor and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. You can send a personal note to Rory at: Mr. Rory Traynor, c/o St. Meinrad Seminary,  200 Hill Drive, St. Meinrad, IN 47577

Support seminarians like Rory Traynor, donate to the Seminarian Fund Collection.