John Paul Shanahan

College III

Saint John Paul II Seminary
Franklin County High School


“Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2: 5)

Hi there! My name is John Paul Shanahan (Jack) a seminarian for the Diocese of Richmond. I was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey but raised most of my life in Rocky Mount, Virginia. Born into a large Catholic Irish family of 8, it is not unusual to wake in my home to the smell of pipe smoke and the sound of Irish folk music playing throughout the house. I spent my early schooling at Roanoke Catholic School before transferring in 4th grade to the Franklin County School system. While in high school I enjoyed playing sports such as football, soccer, cross-country, and frisbee. I also worked at McDonalds and Food Lion over the course of my junior and senior years.


My fascination for the faith and the gift of the priesthood started in 1st grade. Due to a lack of altar servers at my church, I got to start a year early. This made me super excited about the faith and the priesthood. So, when my first-grade teacher at Roanoke Catholic asked us to write and draw whom we wanted to be when we grew up, I said I wanted to be a priest. I didn’t think I’d be the only one who said “priest” but indeed I was. Once people heard what I wanted to be many priests came to visit me in. Over the next 12 years and even today I have continued to serve at the altar, and, with my dad, have grown the ministry of altar serving at St. Francis in Rocky Mount into one of the strongest ministries in the parish! Being an altar server has help me tremendously discern my vocation.


Along with altar serving, pilgrimages to New York City, Baltimore, and Louisville with my parish, the summer diocesan Quo Vadis discernment camp, the inspiration of my pastor Fr. Mark White, and a devotion to St. Philomena certainly helped me to discern my vocation and grow in beloved discipleship.


Should it be God’s desire for me I will be ordained a priest for Holy Mother Church in 2027. Pray for me!