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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 Duncan Amek

Level of Study: 4th Theology          
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.

Blayne Riley

Level of Study: 3rd Theology          
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: 3rd Theology          
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: 3rd Theology          
Home Parish: Resurrection of the Lord, San Antonio, Texas

I first felt the call to priesthood in my early childhood. The faith of my family and the encouragement of my parish community, formed me to respond with courage when prompted to answer God's call to follow Him.

Ian Robbins

Level of Study: 3rd Theology
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.

Edward Gonzales

Level of Study: Pastoral Year          
                           Our Lady of Guadalupe, Helotes
Home Parish: St. Monica, Converse, Texas

My vocation really manifested itself while I was teaching for Confirmation preparation at my home parish. I continue to grow spiritually and pastorally under the many priests who have taken time to invest themselves in my discernment. I ask for your prayers as I seek to serve God and the people of the Archdiocese of San Antonio to the best of my ability.

Paul Melgarejo

Level of Study: Pastoral Year
                           St. Gregory the Great, San Antonio 
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: 2nd 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: 2nd Theology
Home Parish: St. Anthony Mary Claret, San Antonio, Texas

During high school, I heard the call through my good parish priest and wrestled with my vocation for the next three years. During that time, I grew closer to God and subsequently realized I could no longer ignore this call towards the priesthood. After seeing the witnesses of two joyful and gracious priests during World Youth Day 2013, I finally accepted what God was calling me to be and decided to take the steps to enter the seminary.
Now that I’m in formation, I’m happy to be fulfilling what (I believe) God has desired for me. I have a great desire to spread Christian joy. I’m also growing in a great love for my home, this church of San Antonio, and I look forward to serving God’s people here.
“Not what I will but what you will,” (Mk 14:36b).

Jorge Emilio Verduzco

Level of Study: 2nd 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: 2nd 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: 1st 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: 1st 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 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.

Ottmar Tovar

Level of Study: 1st Theology
Home Parish: St. Anthony Mary Claret

I began to discover my vocation during my childhood in Mexico City, where I was inspired by the example of my first parish priest. The call remained and became clearer throughout the years, being later confirmed in the Shrine of Medjugorje through the loving intercession of Our Lady. I hope to be, by God's grace and your prayers, a living reflection of Christ and an instrument of his mercy through the priestly ministry.

Stephen FitzSimon

Level of Study: 2nd 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.

Bernardo Castañeda

Level of Study: 1st Pre-Theology
Home Parish: San Agustín, Monterrey, N.L., México

Mis papás y mis abuelos maternos influyeron mucho en mi vocación y en mi formación católica,pero en concreto, la inquietud al sacerdocio surgió cuando mi papá me mencionó posibles opciones para mi futuro aparte del matrimonio y a partir de ese momento, me empecé a cuestionar la posibilidad de ser sacerdote. Con el tiempo, con la oración, con lo que he sentido, las experiencias personales que he tenido y con la ayuda de varios sacerdotes he ido discerniendo poco a poco mi vocación al sacerdocio. No ha sido nada fácil, pero he ido creciendo como persona y mi fe en Dios ha ido creciendo cada vez más. Mi propósito en esta vida es descubrir y hacer siempre la voluntad de Dios, enamorarme ciega y plenamente de Él, ser santo y ayudar a la mayor cantidad de gente posible.

Rafael Becerra

Level of Study: Language
Home Parish: San Francisco de Asís, Tepatitlán, Jal., México

I am following Christ; he has called me. He has inspired me the example of my spiritual director, Fr. Salvador Zúñiga, who with his life gave me an example of authentically following Christ. He taught me that only God is enough.

Juan Cristhian Ramirez

Level of Study: 4th 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.

Thomas Lyons

Level of Study: 3rd 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: 3rd 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.

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