Seminarians for the Diocese of London study at St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ontario. Below is some brief information about our seminarians, in their own words:
On the Marian day of August 22, 1982 I was baptized into the Catholic Church. It was my grandmother’s birthday and we were with my family at the family cottage. The priest who baptized me was a regular guest of my grandparents. He was a priest who was present in the schools when my dad was young too. I had received the sacraments and after confirmation I felt an urge to speak about my faith. Which, in today’s world, it is not always easy. Years later I had volunteered at a Christian school in Africa as a teacher, teaching eight to thirteen year olds. I went to help combat the poverty there and with time my heart and mind were opened to the existence of many types of poverty people experience. When I returned home I joined the Knights of Columbus. They provided opportunity and fraternity to do charitable activities and support many causes. A trip to visit the grave of Fr. Stephen Eckert, in Milwaukee, opened me to be more receptive to where God could call me. I returned to the sacrament of confession and felt the Lord calling me to “come, step out of the boat”, as Peter had done on the Sea of Galilee. I made the step and it led me to King’s College and St. Peter’s to study philosophy and theology, with the hope of becoming a priest for the diocese of London.
I was born and raised in Chatham to a loving and prayerful family, as the youngest of four siblings. Being raised in a Catholic family I was surrounded by positive role models, such as priests, brothers and nuns and lay persons who worked as youth ministers or who had an involvement in ministries such as the Christ in Others Retreat. I was particularly inspired by those who dedicated their lives to serving the poor, and especially those who advocated for unborn children and single parent families.
At the end of my high school year at Ursuline College "The Pines", I still thought about the priesthood, however I needed more time to discern and reflect. Was this the right time to enter into the Seminary? Should I date a bit more first? It was my father, who worked as a Social Worker for a time in his young adulthood, who suggested that I apply for my Bachelors of Social Work at University of Windsor.
As a Social Worker, I felt God's hand guiding me into situations and into people's challenges where the talents He gave me could be best put to use to help them. I felt as though I was happy, and thought that life was set. I had a house, I had a car, and stable finances. I went through a rough patch, however, after I lost my father to cancer, which led me to rethink my life and my vocation. During this time I was supported by friends who appeared at just the right time, and by the Knights of Columbus and my Church community. As the fog lifted and things improved the thought of entering the priesthood returned, especially when various people on separate occasions suggested that I would make a good priest. It was time for me to apply to St. Peter's to discern f I truly am called.
My advice for any who are discerning the priesthood or the religious life would be to speak to your parish priest and the vocations director for the diocese. They have been through the discernment process, like yourself, and understand what you are feeling. Stay positive and maintain your relationship with God through prayer, reconciliation and the Eucharist. You will be challenged, but Christ will be guiding you as put trust in Him and take the next step.
I come from St. Michael’s Parish in Ridgetown. I have three brothers and no sisters. My family comes from a farming background and my grandfather, father, two uncles and two brothers continue in that tradition. I spent much of my childhood and a part of my adult life continuing in that tradition. After completing my undergrad studies in geology I went to work full time on our family’s farming operation in the Chatham area. My mother was the parish secretary in Ridgetown for many years until she moved on to become the Helpdesk for the London Diocese’s Information Services.
I first heard the call to the priesthood when I was about nine years old. I wanted very much to become an altar server and to help the priest to say Mass in whatever way I could. Getting to know Fr. Martin Johnston in Ridgetown I saw that the life of a priest is not a bad life. Fr. Johnston always seemed so full of joy and love for what he was doing. As I moved to university and began studying in a science heavy field, my faith was challenged by many people who seemed to have no need for God in what they were doing. I became good friends with a young lady with a very deep faith and came to the realization that my faith, my trust in God, need not be buried. As I studied more science I began to see very clearly that God’s place in the universe was not written out by science but more necessary because of it.
As I finished university, I began to play the organ for my home parish at about the same time Fr. Johnston retired and my parish was clustered under the Capuchins in Blenheim. It was through the music that I practiced and prepared, my faith and understanding of the Church began to grow. I began to do my own personal study of the Church and its teachings and found I agreed more and more with what the Church teaches. An old desire that I had suppressed since I was in high school returned and I felt the call once more. At the invitation of one of the Capuchin priests serving at my parish, I visited their friary where we discussed some of what the life of a priest entails. He encouraged me to seek out the diocesan vocation director and with his encouragement I attended a “Come and See” weekend at St. Peter’s Seminary. Following that weekend I felt that I must further follow God’s call and as the Capuchin priest recommended I decided to do something and applied to St. Peter’s.
I have found a very strong devotion to St. Francis of Assisi and the realization that anyone can be called to serve God in a variety of ways. Having read Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, I have tried to follow his lessons on how to grow closer to God. Having discovered some of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas before entering the seminary, I grew to admire his ways of understanding and learning more about God and some of his proofs for the existence of God.
To anyone considering a vocation to the priesthood I would give the same advice given to me by the Capuchin priest: “Do something.” God can extend the offer to you but you must accept it. You must be the one to say yes and go where God leads you.
I come from a family of four. I am a second generation Korean Canadian. My educational background is in French, History and Education.
I first recognized the call to priesthood in high school. It was during the Sacrament of Reconciliation that I was able to discern more seriously my vocation. I was blessed to have many holy priests in my life that guided and nurtured my call. They were priestly role models who helped me draw closer to God and aided my prayer and discernment.
My best advice to a young man considering priesthood is to journey with a priest for spiritual direction, and also to spend silent time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. By doing this we discern with the Holy Spirit as our guide, and to overcome any distractions or fears that may prevent us from fulfilling God’s Will.
I was born and raised in the scenic Okanagan valley in British Columbia. I lived with both of my parents and my older brother and I was blessed with a happy and adventuresome childhood.
My relationship with God was important to me throughout my childhood and adolescence and I even discerned a call to the priesthood during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Eventually, however, I concluded that I was not called to this life. I was drawn to the human services and I worked in this area for a number of years. I was also attracted to research and academics, and I earned a PhD in social work from the University of Georgia in 2004.
After living in the United States for about six years, I returned to Canada in 2007 in order to work as a professor at the University of Windsor's School of Social Work. These years were both challenging and fulfilling as I achieved various personal goals but in time I began to once again experience God's call to the priesthood. The signs were quite gentle at first, but the call was persistent and it steadily grew stronger. I cooperated and nurtured this call through prayer, including praying the Liturgy of the Hours, frequent Mass attendance and regular celebration of the Sacrament of Confession, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and spiritual direction. After spending time with priests from both religious orders and the Diocese of London, I applied to St. Peter's Seminary and entered formation for diocesan priesthood in August 2013.
Since then, my time in the seminary has been a transition for me that has included various challenges, but it has also been a time of tremendous grace. For instance, I have encountered the Risen Jesus in the Sacred Scriptures and my love for Him, in union with the Holy Trinity, has increased tremendously.
Furthermore, I find that engaging in community prayer with other seminarians and the priests at St. Peter’s Seminary is an excellent way to experience God’s healing and energizing grace and love, and I am totally committed to following Jesus to wherever He leads me.
For any man considering the priesthood, I cannot overemphasize the importance of entering into a deep prayer and sacramental life. By doing so, God's will for you will become increasingly clear and you will have the persistent desire and determination to respond to His call - whatever that may be.
I was born on December 30th, 1997 and was raised in Parkhill, Ontario on a pig farm with my eight other siblings (I am number four). Growing up my parents, Rob and Jacinta taught me how to pray, to live my faith actively and to work hard. They encouraged me to consider the priesthood and to be open to God’s Will in my life. My parents started me on the right path to being open to the priesthood or whatever God’s call would be for me. My parents, siblings and grandparents have always been my first and greatest supports in regard to our Catholic Faith, to work on the farm and school, in building virtues and character, and in my discernment.
At the time of my First Holy Communion, my Godparents gave me a biography of St. John Bosco as a First Holy Communion present. I wasn’t quiet old enough to it read yet, but that was fine because I read it about four years later when I was in grade six. St. John Bosco’s love of God, strong devotion to our Blessed Mother Mary, and the special attention he showed to the boys he took under his care inspired me to become like him. I wanted to become a priest like him. This was the first time I considered the priesthood seriously. I put this thought away for about six years and kept it in the back of my mind, meanwhile I continued to be an altar boy at Holy Mass every Sunday and an active member of my parish. I got involved in the Sacred Heart Youth group in my parish and there made a great core group of friends to support me in high school and in discernment. I have spent the last year and a half as a leader in my parish youth group which has helped me discern that God may want me to serve His people as a priest. I also have been working on the farm with my family and I have loved every minute of it, but I was always finding that it wasn’t quiet for me. There was something deep down tugging at my heart.
At the start of grade twelve I started to feel more strongly again God’s call to be His priest. I only felt this call because of time spent before the Blessed Sacrament. I had a ‘spare’ period in my school day and I would often go to the school chapel and pray during this period. I prayed about my vocation. I wanted to get married and pursue a career, but I kept feeling God calling me to be a priest. I ran, but I couldn’t hide. I didn’t go to the chapel sometimes because Jesus, present there was calling me and I didn’t want to listen. I soon found out I couldn’t run or hide, God would persist in drawing me to Him. I gave in and have been discerning God’s Holy Will for my life ever since. I have never felt happier in my life then when I’ve renounced my will and followed God’s. I have now entered St. Peter’s Seminary, with Mary as my Teacher, Jesus as my Love, and the Holy Spirit as my Guide, to continue to grow in holiness and to follow God’s Will for my life. I hope to be ordained a priest someday. God’s Will be done!
My home parish is Holy Name of Jesus, located in Essex, Ontario. It is the start of my vocation story. Being at Holy Name of Jesus, I had the honour of meeting some wonderful individuals who put tremendous effort into cultivating the lives of our parish youth. In Essex, our youth ministry provided a multiplicity of opportunity to explore the faith and to contemplate vocations. By the grace of God and the hard work of many parishioners, Holy Name of Jesus Parish developed an environment where I could think freely about my faith and my purpose in the world.
Then at 16 yrs old, I attended a “Christ in Others Retreat” (COR) and I learned about unconditional love, and the value of having that kind of love for others. This was a pivotal point in my life because it enabled me to see the goodness in all things. Fr. Patrick Beneteau was the Chaplain on that retreat and he reached out to me about discernment of the priesthood. He suggested that I should attend a “Come and See” weekend and in the fall of 2011, my first time at St. Peter’s Seminary, was a wonderful experience that helped me to further discern my call to the priesthood.
With many mentors by my side and with a tremendous amount of support, I was able to make an informed decision about my vocation to priestly formation five years later. I graduated from Essex District High school as an Ontario Scholar achieving Honours. Then I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a specialization in Philosophy and a minor in Sociology at King’s University College (Western University). I’ve had so many wonderful life changing experiences at King’s, and one of the highlights was working for Campus Ministry. As part of the Campus ministry team, I was serving Christ and community and this was one of the main motivators for me to enter St. Peter’s Seminary. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had in my life, and can’t wait to experience what is yet to come. Thank you to everyone who has been there with me along the way. Your love, support, and prayers mean the world to me. God Bless!
I started on the path to the seminary early in my life. At the age of 11, I entered the Pre-Seminary of Buarcos, Portugal and was transferred to the main Seminary at Figueira da Foz the following year. It was my intention then to become a priest, however, life changes. Our whole family emigrated to Canada that same year. In Canada, I pursued a degree in French and Spanish literature at Laurentian University, where I met and married my wife – Sigi. It was my intention upon graduation to become a teacher. That too did not work out as my brothers asked me to join them in their swimming pool installation business to start a service division. In 1982, we bought the service company from them and went on our own to establish a very successful business.
My path back to the Church and to the Seminary, started about 21 years ago when I was asked by my sister-in-law to be the baptismal godfather to her son. In conscience, I could not do this and not be a good Christian example to him. Immediately I started practicing our faith and started reading the bible, the catechism and the lives of the saints. This slowly brought me ever closer to God. I attended and led the “Arise” program, where we started a St. Vincent de Paul Society in our parish. I was also a group leader of “Why Catholic” in our Parish for the last 2 years, as well as a Knights of Columbus member for 36 years.
In 2014 my marriage of 38 years ended when my wife – Sigi, sadly passed away from brain cancer. Her strength, faith and joy were astounding during this time. It helped me greatly. Shortly after, I sold my company to my Service Manager and retired. Throughout my life the idea of becoming a priest never went away. It was at this time that the Good Lord started calling me to Him in earnest. First, I discerned a call to the Permanent Diaconate and completed my first year this spring. However, Our Lord was not yet done with me, and in November 2015, I decided to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a priest and applied to St. Peter’s Seminary, where I was filled with joy to be accepted. God willing, and with a lot of help and prayers, I look forward to being ordained and doing His will.
When I was eight years old I had my First Communion. After the mass the priest at my parish, Fr Andrew Kowalczyk passed the microphone around and asked all of us kids what we wanted to be when we grow up. I said that I wanted to be a priest, so I guess I felt the call from God when I was fairly young. That call faded and appeared many times throughout my life growing up. When I was seventeen, I went to a Come and See weekend at St. Peter’s Seminary. When I was there I felt that this may be something God is calling me to, but I heard God say to me that it is not yet time. I felt really at peace with that, and I know that God had my best interests in mind. So I found a job in construction that I really liked, and I worked there for almost two years. Then I started making plans to continue in that field. Those were my plans though not God’s plans.
When I was eighteen, so about a year and a half from the first Come and See weekend. Fr. Patrick Beneteau came to a youth event at my home parish, there he did a short talk, and Holy Hour. It was at this Holy Hour that I really heard God’s voice. He was telling me that I should really start thinking about the priesthood again. I had not given it a fair chance in a while. So off I went to the next Come and See weekend at St. Peter’s Seminary. It was there that I heard God’s voice again, telling me I should apply to go to the seminary this fall. I immediately started listing off excuses, but God told me just to trust him. That is what I did. I applied and did my best, to get in. Then I left the rest up to Him.
So now I am here, at St. Peter’s Seminary. I am still discerning my vocation, however, I am trusting in God like he asked me to. I know that with prayer and discernment God will show me my vocation, I just need to be patient. Right now all I have to do is be the best version of myself. The rest will come with time.
I was born and raised Catholic, from St. Joseph’s Parish in Stratford, Ontario. I am from a family of seven children and I am a graduate of the Catholic School system. Being from a farm, there was always an emphasis on hard work, responsibility and faith.
During high school, the idea of becoming a priest was really fostered. By visiting the Holy Eucharist in the high school chapel and consulting my mentors I was able to start discerning the call more deeply. Also, the interactions with my parish priests inspired me. I wanted to provide the same service I was given in my own life.
Any young man considering the priesthood should consult others. Do not keep it to yourself. Have good mentors that you can trust and talk to. Journey with a priest and get spiritual direction. Frequent reception of the sacraments is needed. They can give you so many graces. Through all these different graces the discernment of God’s Will is possible.