Back home in Tennessee, many of my friends and family were surprised by my decision to apply to Seminary. I was too!
I grew up in a loving family of my mom, dad, and older brother John Paul. We spent just about every Sunday afternoon with my dad’s side of the family in Memphis, while taking frequent trips to Southern Alabama to visit family on my mom’s side. Over time, I grew to appreciate the importance of these core relationships in my life and in all lives.
Upon finishing at Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, I decided to apply to the College of William and Mary. I was off to Williamsburg, Virginia- and unknowingly the Diocese of Richmond- a few months later. At that time, I had a very different outlook on my college experience, and practicing the Catholic Faith was not on my list of priorities. But over the following semesters, I found myself spending more and more time with the Catholic Campus Ministry at W&M. While there, I felt the call to discern the priesthood, and I started my journey through prayer, retreats, and conversations with fellow discerners, seminarians, and priests.
After my freshman year, I volunteered with Crossroads Pro-Life, a Catholic Pro-Life non-profit that sponsors three walks across the United States. Twelve of us started walking from Seattle in late May and reached the National Basilica in Washington DC in August. We certainly had a lot of fun during those twelve weeks on our cross-country road trip. But the greatest takeaways were growing in my prayer life, encountering many wonderful people, and experiencing the Catholic Church across America.
By January of my sophomore year, I knew I needed to take another step towards discernment. And so I began the application process to enter as a seminarian with the Diocese of Richmond. A few months later, I was accepted at St. John Paul II Seminary for the Fall 2016 semester.