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San Antonio Seminarians

These are the men studying to be priests here in the Archdiocese. They are from different places, with different stories, and in different levels of study. If you are discerning, maybe their stories may help you in your journey. We hope you will pray for them as they continue walking the path God has laid out for them.

Deacon Frank Garcia II

Level of Study: Deacon in Priestly Formation
                        St. Francis of Assisi, San Antonio
Home Parish: St. Rose of Lima, San Antonio, Texas 

During my service to the archdiocese as a deacon for the past 6 years, I felt a call to a deeper relationship with God and His people. With the prayers and support from family, friends, and clergy, I am now seeking to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enter into a covenant with God and His people as a priest.

Deacon Wanjiru Ndung'u

Level of Study: Deacon in Priestly Formation
                        St. Gabriel, San Antonio
Home Parish: St. Leo, San Antonio, Texas

The missionary priests working in my parish inspired me through their ministry to the people in the villages. I have a heart for ministry to people with special needs. Fr. Frank Macias, in whose parish I worked for four years, inspired me by his commitment, prayer life, and holiness in his ministry to his community.

Deacon Robert Rosales

Level of Study: Deacon in Priestly Formation
                        St. Gabriel, San Antonio
Home Parish: Prince of Peace, San Antonio, Texas 

My vocation was inspired through the teaching, mentorship, and spirituality of Msgr. Patrick Cronin and Fr. Frank Macias. Through their witness to the faith and devotion to their congregations, I came to understand God's mercy and eternal love for us. Their tutelage, plus their service to the people of God, was instrumental in offering my life to know, love, and serve our Lord Jesus Christ and the people of his Church.

Deacon Duncan Amek

Level of Study: Pastoral Year
                        Prince of Peace, San Antonio
Home Parish: St. Paul Cathedral, Homa Bay, Kenya

My parents played a significant parental and formational role that inspired my vocation to the priesthood. Besides my family members' inspiration, I was fascinated by the enormous work and commitment of my pastor, Fr. Philip Odero, who inspired me. I was equally inspired toward priesthood by an old exemplary priest, Fr. Joseph Musanda, in my parish.

Deacon Michael English

Level of Study: 4th Theology
Home Parish: St. Luke, San Antonio, Texas

Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection inspired me to follow Him, communicate His teachings, and make His salvation known by the forgiveness of sins. I pray to someday serve God’s people as a loving and caring priest.

Deacon Johnson Le

Level of Study: 4th Theology
Home Parish: Vietnamese Martyrs, San Antonio, Texas

My second home was the Church. I remember regularly altar serving and being around for the youth group. It just felt right, and the thought of Priesthood would always come up in conversations with different people. If God grants me the grace of priesthood, I am especially looking forward to celebrating the Mass and hearing confessions.

Blayne Riley

Level of Study: Internship
                        St. Joan of Arc, Kirby
Home Parish: Shrine of St. Padre Pio, San Antonio, Texas

My vocation story is one of a long road beginning with my conversion to Catholicism. It was during my time altar serving that someone first asked if I had thought of becoming a priest. Since that time, and reflecting back, I have seen Our Lady, Mother of Priests watching over me and guiding me to where I am today. What attracts me personally to the priesthood? Celebrating the Sacraments and serving God's people and accompanying them on their faith journey.

Matthew De Leon

Level of Study: Pastoral Year
                        Our Lady of Guadalupe, Helotes
Home Parish: St. John the Evangelist, Hondo, Texas

My vocation was aroused most by the Catholic community in which I grew up. I learned very early in my life about the examples of such holy men as St. Josemaría Escrivá and St. Pio of Pietrelcina. My life has always belonged to our Father.

Ricardo Ramirez

Level of Study: Pastoral Year
                        Divine Providence, San Antonio
Home Parish: Resurrection of the Lord, San Antonio, Texas

My vocation was and is, inspired by Christ since my early childhood but was helped by Msgr. Adolfo Valdivia. What I look forward to is giving greater glory to God, following his call and serving the people of God.

Ian Robbins

Level of Study: Pastoral Year - 
Holy Redeemer/
                            Our Lady of Perpetual Help, San Antonio          

Home Parish: St. Mark the Evangelist, San Antonio, Texas

My vocation was inspired by those priests who met with me and talked with me in a personal way. I look forward to serving others the best way I can and giving my all to them.

Samuel Zamora

Level of Study: 3rd Theology
Home Parish: México

Edward Gonzales

Level of Study: 2nd Theology
Home Parish: St. Monica, Converse, Texas

My vocation really manifested itself while I was teaching for Confirmation preparation at my home parish. My desire to spread the Good News grew under the guidance of Father Mauricio Lopez. He helped me realize that although I enjoyed serving people, I truly desired to shepherd God's people as a priest.

Paul Melgarejo

Level of Study: 2nd Theology
Home Parish: St. Francis of Assisi, San Antonio, Texas

I was inspired by the witness of priests like Fr. Dennis Arrechiga, Fr. Jimmy Drennan, Fr. Eric Ritter, and Fr. Larry Christian who inspired my vocation. They helped me to see God's call in many ways and to feel the Holy Spirit's movement in me. Because of this, I decided to follow Jesus Christ's call to serve him with all my heart and soul. If granted the grace of priesthood, I hope to help bring unity to my community, with compassion and humility. "For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation." - Psalm 149:4

Michael Coronado

Level of Study: 1st Theology
Home Parish: St. Francis of Assisi, San Antonio, Texas

My vocation story started in high school and was nurtured by the movement of Life Teen and its mission to lead teens closer to Christ, especially in the Eucharist. As a college student, youth minister, and high school teacher, I attempted to ignore the call, but through the Eucharist, God has called me to be a father. I am in seminary to discern if I am called to be a spiritual father in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, or even a physical father as husband. Pray for me.

José Sandoval

Level of Study: 1st Theology
Home Parish: St. Anthony Mary Claret, San Antonio, Texas

Through my pastor, I heard a vocational call to the priesthood. Though it took me a while to respond, I am now really excited about discerning at a deeper level after ordination. I look forward most to helping change our culture for the better.

Jorge Emilio Verduzco

Level of Study: 1st Theology
Home Parish: Corpus Christi, Chula Vista, California

I found my vocation during a retreat in 4th grade, when the priest asked, "Who would like to be a priest?" Immediately, without thinking, I raised my hand. Since that moment, I fell in love with God, especially in the Eucharist.

Juan Villanueva

Level of Study: 1st Theology
Home Parish: St. Joan of Arc, Kirby, Texas

Different people have pointed out to me my call without my noticing it at first. Fr. Francisco Puente has been inspiring to me in my call to priesthood since I met him. His sincerity and his love in service is what allows me to see God in his life. I myself would like to serve God and my community with the same joy and love.

David Chacko

Level of Study: 2nd Pre-Theology
Home Parish: St. Pius X, San Antonio

My vocation was most inspired by Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Reading and hearing about his holy example and love for Christ and his Church truly inspired me. Additionally, the example of holy priests that I know aided me in my discernment. I look forward to the opportunity to provide the sacraments to others a priest. To be able to nourish others both physically and spiritually and to be an instrument of God's grace to them are joys that I cannot wait to embrace!

Jordan Milligan

Level of Study: 2nd Pre-Theology
Home Parish: Holy Family, New Braunfels, Texas

My family - parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins - have shown me what it is to love without ceasing. Together, along with our parish community members, they have helped me realize my vocation is one rooted in God's love.

Stephen Santos

Level of Study: 1st Pre-Theology
Home Parish: St. Anthony de Padua, San Antonio, Texas

No one particular person (save perhaps Christ) has solely inspired my desire to seriously discern a vocation to the priesthood. I have encountered many men and women both lay and ordained whose love of God and the Church is evident in their ministries. The witness of these men and women’s lives has had a deep impact on me – particularly in a world that seems so fallen at times. In short, I want what they have – a life lived for others for love of Christ. They motivate me to do what seems foolish in the eyes of the world. So for now, that means trying out seminary life. If I am ever ordained a presbyter, I look most forward to being a means by which people are drawn into the life of Christ through the ministry of the sacraments – particularly the Eucharist. As a priest, I would hope to be a visible symbol and instrument of God’s love and reconciliation – particularly for those people at the margins of the Church and society at large.

Stephen FitzSimon

Level of Study: 1st Pre-Theology
Home Parish: Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
                        St. Hedwig, Texas

My vocation was inspired by the example of the Marianists at Central Catholic, and most importantly by my parents. As a priest I look forward to helping others grow in Christ through the Holy Mass and the sacraments.

Cullen Barry

Level of Study: 4th College
Home Parish: Sts. Peter & Paul, New Braunfels, TX

Through the movement of the Holy Spirit, my pastor - Father Tony - along with the entire church community, served as a lighthouse to guide me to Assumption Seminary. Here, I hope to grow in my relationship with Christ and so realize His plan for my life, so that I may serve Him totally.

Juan Cristhian Ramirez

Level of Study: 3rd College
Home Parish: St. Patrick, San Antonio, Texas

Faith has played a major role in my life. My family has passed on this faith to me, and I am here to listen to the Lord. I hope to be faithful and follow God wherever he leads me.

Christian Rocha

Level of Study: 3rd College
Home Parish: St. Rose of Lima, San Antonio, Texas

Thomas Lyons

Level of Study: 2nd College
Home Parish: Sts. Peter and Paul, New Braunfels, Texas

My entire Church community inspired my vocation by surrounding me with the love of Christ. I look forward to being able to help people know God and to give them support in their needs.

Robert Shelton

Level of Study: 2nd College
Home Parish: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Helotes, Texas

My vocation was first inspired by the actions of the saints and martyrs throughout history. Their devotion to defending the Church and its people inspired me to serve. As a future priest, I am most looking forward to administering the sacraments and being there for people in their times of need.

Jesús Alonso

Level of Study: 1st College
Home Parish: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Del Rio, Texas

I grew up serving in the Catholic community in every way I could. Because of that, I developed a desire to become a priest. Many priests have inspired me, but my biggest inspiration is Fr. Clay Hunt, because of his passion and his love for God and for the Church. I look forward to defending and serving the Catholic Church, and to helping it grow by helping and guiding as many people as I can to the truth.

Arturo Garcia III

Level of Study: 1st College
Home Parish: St. Joseph, Del Rio, Texas

My father and grandfather inspired my vocation in many ways. My father showed me what it's like to lend out a helping hand to the less fortunate, and my grandfather always saw me with a big heart. After my grandfather's passing, I heard God say, "Trust in me, my Son." I've served the church and the community ever since I was little, and as I discerned priesthood, I served families through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. I look forward to focusing on families, helping to keep them together with God in the center of their life, praying together, worshiping. I look forward to the opportunity to serve.

Seminarians connected to the Archdiocese in formation for other communities

Br. Sean Stilson, BBD

Level of Study: 4th Theology
Community: Brothers of the Beloved Disciple

When I was younger I read a lot about the saints and wanted to live the way they did: giving everything to God. I got to know Jesus from reading the Bible and felt challenged when he said “some…have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it” and when St. Paul said “the one who marries his virgin does well; the one who does not marry her will do better.” I thought to myself, “if celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of God is better than marriage, why would I choose marriage?” I want to belong totally to Jesus Christ because I love him and I want to help him advance his kingdom against Satan’s kingdom. There is a war going on and I can’t stand to be on the sidelines. That is why I want to be a priest and a religious.

Levels of Study

There are the various levels of seminary study:

  • Language – Study for English proficiency
  • College – For those who do not yet have an undergraduate degree, there is a college seminary program
  • Pre-Theology – For those who have an undergraduate or other degrees but have not completed the required number of credit hours in Philosophy and Religious studies set by the US Bishops
  • Theology – There are 4 years of Theology in the major seminary program
  • Pastoral Year/Internship – Usually between the second and third year of Theology, the seminarians spend a year living in a parish community learning hands on through full-time ministry
  • Spirituality Program - Study of Catholic Spirituality and extra pastoral training