Samuel McPeak


Theological College
University of Richmond

I was born in Hopewell, Virginia to dual career army officers who were stationed at Fort Lee.  As most children of career army officers do, we moved around the country almost every two years. Along the way, I was blessed with a sister who was born in 2004.  I lived in Kansas twice, Texas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and finally ended up back in Virginia in Chesterfield just in time to start high school at Matoaca High School – where I graduated from.  During high school I played golf, soccer, and swam.  I also was seriously invested in the performing arts, specifically continuing my classical vocal training.

My high school was overwhelmingly protestant and non-religious.  Usually this would be a recipe for disaster however, as most high school teens invest themselves in some form of counterculture, my counterculture, in light of my environment, became investing myself deeply in the Catholic faith. It was at this time, particularly after I was confirmed, that I began to feel the call to enter priesthood. However, my main goal in high school was to attend The United States Military Academy, a dream I had since I was 5 so priesthood went on the backburner.  17 days after I graduated in 2016, I reported to West Point for cadet basic training.  God had other plans for me than to graduate from the Academy.  At West Point I felt the call clearer than I ever had before, and it was made even clearer that I wanted to serve as an army chaplain.  Because of the example of the command chaplain at West Point, who happened to be a Catholic priest and my sponsor, it became clear that I wanted to serve not just my country, but also serve the men and women who serve.  I also knew that in light of a severe shortage of catholic chaplains in the Army, I could not stand by and do nothing knowing I had this calling.  Unfortunately, West Point does not commission officers in the Chaplain Corps, so I resigned and transferred to the University of Richmond in the spring of 2018 to begin anew and truly jump into discernment.

Transferring to U of R was the best decision I ever made.  When I made the move, I immediately contacted the office of vocations to seek out discernment opportunities.  Being at the University of Richmond allowed me to have stress free discernment within the Diocese of Richmond and pursue the study of my two loves, history and music.  I graduated in 2020 with degree in both disciplines.  While discerning at U of R I knew for certain I was going to enter seminary (especially after attending Duc In Altum three times in a row!).  However, because of the pandemic I decided not to apply to seminary and opted to attend graduate school at George Mason University for European History, instead.  During my second year of studies (2021) after a period of serious prayer, I knew it was time to make the jump and apply for seminary for the diocese and to be a chaplain candidate for the army.  I will be attending Theological College in Washington D.C. and am co-sponsored with the Archdiocese for the Military Services as an army chaplain candidate.  If it be God’s will, I’ll be ordained in 2029.

“Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi?” (Psalm 115:3)

Please pray for me and my brother seminarians that we may clearly discern God’s will in our life.


Favorite book:  Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins and Silence by Shusako Endo

Favorite Saints:  St. Philip Neri, St . Augustine, and Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun