Home Parish: St. Francis of Assisi, East Palo Alto, CA
Year in Seminary: Pre-Theology II
College and Degree: San Jose State University, B.S. Aerospace Engineering
When did you first believe God might be calling you to be a priest?
When I was 5, I told my parents that I wanted to be a priest, though no one took me seriously. When I was 30, I felt a call to the priesthood again, but it was not until I was 33 years old that I finally decided to apply to the seminary. This moment was in front of the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration.
What helped you during your discernment?
Keeping close to the sacraments (daily Mass and regular confession) helped a great deal, but more importantly was my time spent in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, of which I spent 1-2 hours a day for 2 years before entering the seminary. I discovered that surrounding myself with friends that led me towards God, not away from him, was of great importance during this time. Also, reading the right books (to name a few): The Confessions by St. Augustine, How to Listen When God is Speaking by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, and The World’s First Love: Mary Mother of God by Ven. Bishop Fulton Sheen was helpful. What was of great value was also having an amazing spiritual director for 4 years before deciding on entering the seminary.
How did your family react to your decision to become a priest?
Most of my family members were quite happy, some shocked, and others not surprised. But overall, they are extremely supportive of my decision and my vocation.
What did you do before becoming a seminarian?
Before entering the seminary, I worked in the aerospace industry for 12 years working with the U.S. Armed Forces, Department of Defense, and various domestic and international partners (JAXA, ESA, LM UK). I worked for NASA, Lockheed Martin, and for Pratt & Whitney. I was also a teacher for 5 years where I taught computer basics and GED classes in English and Spanish. I loved teaching so much that I received my teaching credential. Helping out my community was very important for me, so I volunteered in different parishes (young adult groups, catechesis, etc.) and many non-profit organizations that focused on math and science in the Bay Area.
What has the seminary been like for you?
The seminary has been an amazing experience! It is full of challenges, both internal and external, but I can sense God’s hand on all these things. The courses have been absolutely enlightening and have only deepened my faith. Meeting other men that share the same road towards the priesthood has been enjoyable, some of which have become life-long friends. Having the time to spend in prayer is the most peaceful time of my day. Either in community or on my own, spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament continuously reminds me of my call and the reasons why I am here.
What do you look forward to the most after ordination?
I hope to celebrate Holy Mass with great reverence and to hear many hours of confessions. As a priest, I hope to teach catechism, give lectures on philosophy and theology, and lead retreats for men and women. I love the idea of being a spiritual director, but more important, is to be present to the people of God as His servant.