Meet Our Seminarians

List of Seminarians

Sort and download our seminarians, with mailing address, bios and photos.

Prayer Calendar

Please join us in praying for these deacons and all of the seminarians from our diocese!

CALENDARIO DE ORACIÓN

¡Únase a nosotros para orar por estos diáconos y todos los seminaristas de nuestra diócesis!

Theology Studies & Pastoral Year

2-5 Years from Priestly Ordination

Matthew Jewell

Antonio Avilés, Jr.

Kingsley Ohaeri

Scott Fyall

Michael Noriega

Ladd Spears

Isaiah Minke

Michael Rhodes

Chris Haberberger

Brian McNaughton

William Stivers

Cameron Kologinczak

Matthew Jewell

Birthday: August 1st
Home Parish: Our Lady of Wisdom University Parish, San Marcos
Seminary: St. Mary’s Seminary
Level of Formation: III Theology

Patron Saint: Saint Padre Pio
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Ping Pong-ing, Listening to David Ramirez, Hiking/Backpacking, Having Dialogues.
Favorite Movie: A Hidden Life
Favorite Music Genre: Indie/Folk
Favorite Food: Chorizo
Biblical Role Model: Jeremiah
Random Fact: My favorite apologist is Padre Luis Toro.

I was born August 1, 1995. I grew up in Angleton, a town south of Houston, with an older and younger sister. I went to college at Texas State University in San Marcos. I graduated in May 2017 with my bachelor’s in Philosophy. It was at Texas State where I started to experience conversion in the faith and later the call to the priesthood.  I joined a group called Saint Paul’s Outreach and lived in a household with other Catholic men for three years. It was from that place that I decided to study for the priesthood with the Diocese of Austin. I graduated from St. Joseph’s Seminary College in Covington, LA with another bachelor’s in Philosophy in 2019.

Last year I was finishing my second year of Theology at St. Mary’s seminary in Houston.  It was a year of study and some teaching.  The classes I took included Medieval Readings, American Catholicism, and Homiletics, to just name a few.  Also, I was able to teach the Catechism to 5th graders for St. Joseph’s parish in downtown Houston. The biggest take away of the past year was having learned more about Christ’s sufferings, natures, and knowledge through the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

This year I will be in third Theology at St. Mary’s seminary in Houston.  I hope to grow in spiritual leadership.  At the end of the year, I will be ordained deacon.  Please pray for the grace of peace and courage as it approaches.

Antonio Avilés, Jr.

Birthday: February 17th
Home Parish: Santa Julia, Austin
Seminary: St. Mary’s Seminary
Level of Formation: III Theology

Patron Saint: St. Alexis Falconieri
Hobbies/Interests: Technology, building stuff, and the Liturgy
Favorite Movie: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Favorite Music Genre: Electro-swing
Favorite Food: Pasta
Biblical Role Model: Samuel
Random Fact: I have bad dyslexia, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying reading!

My name is Antonio Avilés Jr; I am the oldest of five kids, two brothers and two sisters, the youngest boy and girl being twins. I was born in Austin and have traveled often to Mexico to visit family. I am a very techy person; I enjoy video games, building and repairing computers and building custom electronics. In middle school and high school, I used to play the violin and had the first chair (which meant that I did some solos and was the closest one to the front of the stage and conductor.)

One of the saints that I admire is Saint Erasmus of Formia, also known as Saint Elmo, because he was persecuted but always remained strong in proclaiming the faith.

When I was much younger, I had my first experience of possibly being called to the priesthood. The priest in the middle of his homily was describing his own vocation story, and it sounded just like my life and the way I thought at the time, and singled me out during the homily! I was a very nervous 4 year old!

I am dyslexic and am nervous about speaking in front of people, so one time when I was reading for Mass, I stuttered, made some random sounds and said a few words out of order, stopped then covered my face before I had the courage to continue speaking once more. All without leaving the ambo. I have grown more confident in public speaking because of my practice and my faith. From time to time, I thought about the priesthood but always thought that I am a “normal” person. I like video games, I have friends, I didn’t like being too active in the Church, so how can I be a priest? Lo and behold, God calls anyone, regardless if we are “weird” or “normal” or any other labels we may assign ourselves. We are all God’s children, and as such, are infinitely loved. 🙂 So wherever God calls us, stay strong, carry on, and don’t let your crosses stop you.  Pick them up and embrace your cross, for through our crosses we become holier and can fall deeper in love with Christ.

I have finished my pastoral year at St. Louis in Waco Texas. It was an amazing year of self discovery and falling in love with God’s people! My pastor, Fr. Ryan, was a great mentor and model for priesthood. I found out so much about myself and how I just love ministering to people. I learned how much I desire to minister and how that looks in the parish. I found that holiness comes from being truly myself. God’s people desire holy priests, and the only way to be holy is to be genuinely ourselves through our relationship with Christ.
I am excited to see how my third year of theology will go. I have a renewed vigor for my studies. I will be declaring candidacy for Holy Orders this year! God willing, I’ll be ordained to the order of Diaconate next year.
Please pray for vocations and for the growth of all seminarians!

Year:Pastoral Year

Home City:Santa Julia, Austin

Kingsley Ohaeri

Birthday: March 16th
Home Parish: St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, Austin
Assignment: St. Helen Catholic Church
Level of Formation: Pastoral Year

Patron Saint: St. Jude
Hobbies/Interests: Soccer/Volleyball
Favorite Movie: Elevator baby
Favorite Music Genre: Gospel songs
Favorite Food:  Garri and Egusi Soup
Biblical Role Model: Joseph the Dreamer
Random Fact:  There is power in prayer.

I was born into a Catholic family of late Mr. Onyema Michael Ohaeri and Mrs. Ngozi Theresa Ohaeri on 16th day of March, 1987. I am a native of Umubaa Ala-Ala Amuzukwu Ibeku in Umuahia North Local Government Area, Abia State, Nigeria, West Africa. I have seven siblings, four brothers and three sisters of which I am the baby of the house. All of my brothers and sisters are active and strong practicing Catholics.

I grew up and studied in the Eastern part of Nigeria. My family was my first educator. They were very supportive of my educational process and my decision to be a Catholic priest. They helped to promote my academic excellence and moral values. I modeled my dad in learning and developing my passion for nature and patience in life. In general, we played, labored, sheared ideas, and most importantly prayed together as one family.

I received the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, my home parish in Nigeria. I have always wanted to serve God and humanity. At an early stage in my life, I willingly joined (with my mother) the parish choir and was the youngest among the choristers in my parish. This merited my sitting in the front pews of the choir stand, where I admired the beauty of the altar and sanctuary. I later joined my brothers, who were my sole inspiration and role models, in serving at Mass.

My journey to the Altar, started after watching the solemn procession and recession of my pastor, visiting priests, seminarians, and altar servers during Mass and other liturgical celebrations. The happiness and joy I observed captured my interest in joining the altar servers. My membership as a growing child in the parish choir, altar servers, catholic youth organization, legion of Mary and Divine Mercy prayer group attracted many young parishioners to join the groups as well.

Before my transition to America, I worked in a major seminary in Nigeria as a librarian. While in the seminary, I read a few theology books and vocation stories of missionary priests from different parts of the world. These stories greatly inspired and influenced me more. My desire for priesthood soared high while working and living among priests and seminarians in the seminary.

I appreciated the way priests and seminarians prayed the Divine Office and diligently carried out their pastoral activities. This re-awakened my dream and burning zeal once more to serve God. This period was so unique in my history because of the happiness I shared with the priests and seminarians in praying, playing and dinning together. After reading and listening to different vocation stories from a few seminarians (all of which were very similar to what I was experiencing in my life), I talked to my “Corridor of Vocations” about an undoubting hope in my heart of becoming a Catholic priest.

I had a smooth transition to America and kept my hope of becoming a seminarian and a Catholic priest alive. I identified with the Catholic Church in United States and served as an Extra-Ordinary Eucharistic Minister, altar server and a member of the Knights of Columbus. My spiritual director encouraged me to apply to the Diocese of Austin; I did and got accepted.

I believe that the seminary will foster and encourage self-discipline, self-respect, respect for others, and growth in learning. I also strongly believe that the Diocese of Austin will lead me to an encounter with the living God and an opportunity to share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, as well as a deeper engagement in the service of God and humanity.

First, I’m super excited to testify to all you faithful, my amiable prayer warriors, and generous supporters that I had a grace-filled year of formation. I strongly believe that the grace I received, the knowledge I acquired and the growth I attained, wouldn’t be sufficient if not for your fervent prayers, consistent support and encouragement. I want to joyfully appreciate you all for your prayers, financial support and kind words of encouragement to me.  Thank you for making my discernment, formation and vocation story a joyful and grace filled one as I earnestly look forward to another fruitful year of formation.

Scott Fyall

Birthday: September 18th
Home Parish: St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, Dripping Springs
Assignment: St. Joseph Catholic Church
Level of Formation: Pastoral Year

Patron Saint: St. Andrew
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Running, Weightlifting, Soccer, Coffee, Photography
Favorite Movie: Baby Driver
Favorite Music Genre: Alternative Rock and Motown
Favorite Food: Korean BBQ
Biblical Role Model: St. Paul
Random Fact: I met the Dalai Lama while working at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC.

“The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.” Those words from Pope Benedict XVI rang true in my heart when I decided to apply to the Diocese of Austin. I had spent the past five years working in public policy in Washington, DC after graduating with a degree in political science and history from Williams College in 2013, and graduating from Dripping Springs High School before that.

My time in Washington had become comfortable, but also frustrating. Facing mental health challenges and finding myself at a crossroads in my career, I undertook some serious prayer and reflection on what “greatness” Christ intended for my life. In doing so I realized that everything which made me truly happy had to do with God.

I had become heavily involved in RCIA, had sponsored several of my friends in their baptisms and confirmations, and thought to myself how wonderful it would be if I could do that sort of thing all the time. It then occurred to me how excited I really was by the idea of the priesthood. At that point I knew I needed to apply, and after three years of formation for the Diocese of Austin at Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas and the Pontifical North American College in Rome, I can say with joy and gratitude that coming home to Texas to discern my vocation was one of the best decisions and greatest blessings of my life.

My second year at the Pontifical North American College in Rome was defined by gratitude. I am grateful for the friends I have made so far, and the home I was able to come back to here in Rome after my summer assignment. I am also grateful for the graces I have received from the Lord , and the opportunities for growth and deepening friendship with Christ that lie ahead of me. Most especially, I am grateful to God for the life He has given me, for the vocation He has placed in my heart, and for the friends and family in the Diocese of Austin who are praying for me and my seminarian brothers.

In the second year of theology, you feel more comfortable in your theological studies and the culture of the house. You are given more responsibility, and with that, the Lord encourages you: “I am with you. You are my son. Be not afraid.” One of the responsibilities that was very formative for me was teaching weekly confirmation classes for a group of teenagers in Spanish. These kids are sons and daughters of expatriate Spaniards living in Rome, and one of the main lessons I wanted to teach them was that they were also sons and daughters of God the Father, and that He loves them more than they could ever appreciate in a lifetime.

I was prepared for this apostolate after having spent the summer at a parish in Madrid, Spain. I consider the people of the Santo Cristo de la Misericordia parish to be my family. From serving at daily Mass, accompanying Don Javier Siegrist on home visits, helping with three different youth camps and pilgrimages, and befriending the young adults of the parish, I felt the Holy Spirit fill my soul with consolation. Serving in a parish brought me so much joy and excitement at the prospect of becoming a parish priest.

At the end of one of the pilgrimages we made that summer, with a group of over 100 teenagers, walking from Javier to Loyola, Spain, I experienced a tremendous moment in prayer. Sitting in the chapel where St. Ignatius of Loyola experienced his conversion and gave his life to God, Don Javier told me, as our group was leaving, “you should stay longer; you can catch up with us later. It is important that you pray here for a while.” As I sat there, resting from a week-long hike across northern Spain, I looked at Christ in the tabernacle. A strong breeze came through the room as I closed my eyes, and I began to cry tears of joy. I felt the embrace of the Holy Spirit, and the comforting gaze of St. Ignatius and all of my saint friends in heaven. The consolation in my heart echoed the words that my dad told me after dropping me off for my first day in seminary: “You are in the right place.”

Indeed, my sense of gratitude this year has come from a renewed appreciation for the value of true friendship: with my seminarian brothers, with the saints, and with Jesus Christ my brother and savior. On another occasion, I found myself with two of my buddies in Ars, France, praying before the tomb of St. Jean-Marie Vianney, patron of parish priests. Through imaginative prayer, I prayed over what the “Cure of Ars,” a priest who would sit in the confessional for hours on end, would tell me if I were sitting on the other side of the screen. My heart swelled, and I felt his encouragement radiate through my soul. I then thought of myself sitting on the other side of the screen, in persona Christi, offering the words of absolution for whomever, God-willing, I would experience in the confessional one day, and I experienced a profound joy and excitement.

My experiences in apostolic work, in the classroom, as a sacristan, in playing soccer against other seminaries in Rome, have all been blessed by both challenge and consolation, but it is my time in prayer that has borne the most fruit over the past year. The work that Christ does in our hearts surpasses any human effort, and it is my desire that, God-willing, as a priest people see less of me and more of Christ Jesus. I am excited to be back in the diocese for a pastoral year, and I want to thank Fr. Chris Downey and the St. Joseph’s family for welcoming me.

To be closer to my family will be a great gift over the next year. However, I know that during my time abroad, I have in fact never been far from my family, and perhaps I have been closer to them than ever before. During my final pilgrimage of the summer, Padre Javier Merino (another priest), asked me to give a testimony to the young adult group we were traveling with through the Picos de Europa mountains on our way to the shrine of Covadonga. I told them, “Some of you have asked if it is difficult to be far from my family, and it is. However, I know that, whenever I’m in front of the tabernacle, I am home. And whenever I am with other Catholics, I am with my family.”

Thank you all for being my family, and for remaining close to me in prayer and the Eucharist as I continue to follow God’s call towards the priesthood. Please continue to pray for me, and know that I am praying for you as well. God bless.

Michael Noriega

Birthday: November 7th
Home Parish: University Catholic Center, Austin
Assignment: St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Level of Formation: Pastoral Year

Patron Saint(s): St. Michael the Archangel and St. Joseph
Hobbies/Interests: Running, reading, keeping up with current events, and exploring local coffee shops.
Favorite Movie: I rotate frequently, but the one I keep coming back to is “Clear and Present Danger”
Favorite Music Genre: I’ve really gotten into Chillhop recently. Check it out!
Favorite Food: Not gonna lie, a classic cheeseburger and fries
Biblical Role Model: St. Peter
Random Fact: When I was 4 years old, my family lived in Saudi Arabia for 1 year.

I grew up in Houston with a strong Catholic family. Faith was something that was lived in our house, most notably through the example of my parents. I grew more involved in my faith during high school through youth ministry and also by working part-time at my home parish. The thought of priesthood first came up in late high school, but I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor, and went to The University of Texas at Austin. I grew in my faith while at UT through Longhorn Awakening, Schoenstatt University Men, and Lambda Omega Alpha. After graduating from UT in 2014, I worked for three years in a physician’s office in Houston and then for a pro-life women’s healthcare organization in Washington, DC for one year. I loved my work and the friends I had made, but throughout all of this time there was a restlessness in my heart.

God and the Blessed Mother had been pursuing my heart and began to show me that the desires that motivated me to pursue medicine and public policy were leading me to deeper desires of healing the whole person and shaping our culture – something that can only be accomplished by Christ. I entered seminary for the Diocese of Austin in Fall 2018 and have been blessed with great peace and joy. Meeting so many of the laity during my summer assignment in Summer 2019 showed me the great faith of the laity and increased my desire to grow in holiness to one day serve them as a priest.

I am grateful for the prayers of so many people and know that you all will be in mine!

This past year of formation was focused on the theme of forming a greater priestly identity. Moving into II Theology, the focus of the year revolved around this theme – from our silent retreat in September focusing on different priestly identities, learning how to preach and give practice homilies, as well as approaching studies with a deeper sense of how this is all for the sanctification of others and for my own growth in holiness. Jesus showed His presence to me in deeper ways, especially His friendship and His desire for me to grow in deeper friendship and dependence on Him so that in resting in Him, I may bring Him to others. Another year in Rome gave great opportunities to get to know the universal Church, through studying with classmates from all over the world, getting to know the saints buried in Rome, and being able to pray for the intentions and mission of the Holy Father in a deeper way. I will be starting my Pastoral Year at St. Elizabeth of Hungary this Fall and could not be more excited to be back in the Diocese after being abroad these past 2 years! This year will be focused on learning more about parish ministry and furthering that growth in priestly identity through being full-time in a parish. I hope to learn more about day-to-day life in the parish, get to know the lives of the parishioners and their stories, and be open to the ways in which the Lord wants to challenge me and form me this year, bringing me closer to Him. I ask for prayers to be open and attentive to all that the Lord wants to show me this year and to respond generously to His promptings during this Pastoral Year. Thank you for all of your prayers, and please know that you are in mine!

Ladd Spears

Birthday: May 19th
Home Parish: St. Mary Cathedral, Austin
Level of Formation: Pastoral Year
Assignment: St. Louis Catholic Church

Patron Saint: Saint Ignatius of Antioch
Hobbies/Interests: Sailing, Rowing, Hunting, Target Shooting, Card and Board Games, Reading
Favorite Movie: Schindler’s List
Favorite Music Genre: Baroque
Favorite Food: Vietnamese (Bo Luc Lac specifically)
Biblical Role Model: St. Joseph
Random Fact: In the summer of 2008, I and 19 others sailed a 66 foot sailboat from Newport, RI 650 nautical miles to the island of Bermuda in 4 days.

My name is Ladd Spears. I was born and raised in Austin with my one younger brother. I grew up in a Protestant family, but following my graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2010 and while stationed in Charleston, SC with the Navy, I began RCIA and entered into full communion with the Catholic Church at the 2011 Easter Vigil.

A few years later when I was stationed on the island of Guam, while serving as the Catholic lay leader on my submarine, I began to question if God was calling me to the priesthood. That call intensified as I spent the last two years of my military career in Charleston, where I volunteered as a middle school Confirmation preparation catechist. After much prayer, I joyfully decided to pursue formation and continue my discernment in the seminary. Please pray for my formation and that the Lord would continue to bless me with His peace.

Having now finished my second year of theology at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, I’ve been enjoying getting into more of the deeper theology of the Church. My class also started to practice delivering homilies in class, and I received the ministry of Acolyte last fall. Reaching the halfway point of my theological studies and being instituted as an Acolyte have definitely brought the end of seminary formation into greater focus for me. I’m excited and looking forward to the future, and at the same time, I know that much remains in the journey of configuring my life to Christ. This coming year, 2022–2023, I will be doing my pastoral year at St. Louis parish in Waco, where I hope to learn from the example of my pastor. The opportunity to actually apply what I have absorbed in the seminary to life in the parish excites me greatly, and I think it will be a great experience! Please pray for me as I continue my formation in the parish on pastoral year, that God will give me the heart of a shepherd with which to love His people.

““Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” — Psalm 25:5

Isaiah Minke

Birthday: November 26th
Home Parish: St. Thomas Aquinas, College Station
Seminary: Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans
Level of Formation: II Theology

Patron Saint: St. Francis de Sales
Hobbies/Interests: Calligraphy, Leatherworking, Creative Writing
Favorite Movie: La La Land
Favorite Music Genre: Classical/Movie Soundtracks
Favorite Food: Mediterranean
Biblical Role Model: Isaiah the prophet 😉
Random Fact: I love ballroom dance and did it for five years before seminary.

I was born and raised in a strong Catholic family and vibrant parish at St. Thomas Aquinas in College Station. I received the first signs of a call to the priesthood when I started learning the faith on my own in middle school. As I learned the teachings of the Church and the meaning of prayer, I noticed a subtle attraction to the priesthood, so in highschool I took active steps to explore it further. My encounters on retreats and in prayer only confirmed and strengthened the call, so after graduating high school I entered seminary in the Fall of 2017.

Having completed college seminary I moved to New Orleans last year for theological formation at Notre Dame Seminary. It was a great start to major seminary as me and my classmates began to step into the “priestly shoes,” so to speak, to learn the specific habits and interior life that makes for a good pastor of souls. I’m on the home stretch of seminary now, with just a few choice years of formation left. Since I know so many pray for us back home, I ask for prayers for my continued perseverance in the virtue of hope during these last stages of preparation for the priesthood.

Michael Rhodes

Birthday: February 5th
Home Parish: St. Mary Catholic Center, College Station
Seminary: Pontifical North American College, Rome
Level of Formation: II Theology

Patron Saint: St. Augustine
Hobbies/Interests:  Cooking, Brewing Coffee, Reading, Fountain Pens, Camping, Playing Board Games
Favorite Movie: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Favorite Music Genre:  Folk
Favorite Food: BBQ
Biblical Role Model: St. Joseph
Random Fact:  I’m a licensed HAM Radio operator

I was born and raised in Fort Worth. I attended Crowley High School, where I participated in band, the B.E.S.T. Robotics Competition, and National Honor Society. During the summer, I enjoyed traveling with my family. I have one younger sister.

After graduating from high school in 2005, I moved to College Station to attend Texas A&M University.  Before completing my degree, I took a full time position managing Layne’s Chicken Fingers. I spent 11 years with Layne’s and loved every day. Working in the restaurant industry, I learned invaluable skills in management and technical trades I wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to.

In my youth I went to Sunday school and was baptized in the Baptist Church. Later in life I began to have so many questions about my faith and wondered what Catholics found so appealing about Mary and the Rosary.  One evening in late 2016, I pulled out a rosary my grandmother had given me. She had it blessed by now St. John Paul II in the year 2000 and had given it to me as a gift. I began to research the Catholic Church and its teachings when I stumbled across the real presence in the Eucharist. After reading the Bread of Life Discourse in John, chapter 6, several times, in several different translations, I was left speechless. After staying up all night learning about the faith, I reached out to St. Mary’s Catholic Center in College Station and began RCIA in January of 2017. I was confirmed in November of 2017. My patron saint is St. Augustine because of his overnight conversion in the garden, fueled by the prayers of his mother, St. Monica.

Halfway through RCIA, I began to feel the call to the priesthood and began to meet with my pastor, Fr. Brian McMaster, to help me in my discernment. It was a blessing to have a priest who was the former Vocation Director for our diocese. The thought of celebrating the sacraments and being a pastor to the people of God brings so much joy to my life. I feel more like myself than I ever have.

This past year of formation was focused on the theme of forming a greater priestly identity. Moving into II Theology, the focus of the year revolved around this theme – from our silent retreat in September focusing on different priestly identities, learning how to preach and give practice homilies, as well as approaching studies with a deeper sense of how this is all for the sanctification of others and for my own growth in holiness. Jesus showed His presence to me in deeper ways, especially His friendship and His desire for me to grow in deeper friendship and dependence on Him so that in resting in Him, I may bring Him to others. Another year in Rome gave great opportunities to get to know the universal Church, through studying with classmates from all over the world, getting to know the saints buried in Rome, and being able to pray for the intentions and mission of the Holy Father in a deeper way. I will be starting my Pastoral Year at St. Elizabeth of Hungary this Fall and could not be more excited to be back in the Diocese after being abroad these past 2 years! This year will be focused on learning more about parish ministry and furthering that growth in priestly identity through being full-time in a parish. I hope to learn more about day-to-day life in the parish, get to know the lives of the parishioners and their stories, and be open to the ways in which the Lord wants to challenge me and form me this year, bringing me closer to Him. I ask for prayers to be open and attentive to all that the Lord wants to show me this year and to respond generously to His promptings during this Pastoral Year. Thank you for all of your prayers, and please know that you are in mine!

I remember each of you in prayer every day; for Our Lord truly has “put into my heart a marvelous love for the faithful ones who dwell in his land.” – Ps 16

Please pray for me and know of my continued prayers for each and every one of you!

Chris Haberberger

Birthday: September 19
Home Parish: St. Thomas Aquinas, College Station
Seminary: St. Mary’s Seminary
Level of Formation: I Theology

Patron Saint: St. Michael the Archangel
Hobbies/Interests: Brewing coffee, jigsaw and crossword puzzles, audiobooks and podcasts
Favorite Music Genre: Pop Punk (especially early-mid ‘00s)
Favorite Food: All the breakfast foods
Biblical Role Model: Peter

My life has been a series of moments organized by Divine Providence. Through the ups and downs and life, the Lord has placed me in the locations and moments that, in His love for me, has drawn me close to Himself,  and to the point where I am now, in  seminary formation and continuing to discern the call to priesthood.

I grew up in a small town in New Jersey. When I was about 5—my mom especially likes to remind me now—we would come home on Sundays, I’d get my prayer book, put a towel over my shoulders like a stole, and celebrate my own version of Mass. This childhood respect for and love of the priesthood never really went away, but it wasn’t something I considered for myself until much later.

After high school and while attending Texas A&M and St. Mary’s Catholic Center, the Lord began to invite me deeper into the pursuit of holiness and relationship with Him. I attended and served on retreats like Aggie Awakening, served on a youth ministry Core Team, and made a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. Through all these experiences, the question of priesthood never really went away, lingering in the back of my mind.

After staying through grad school at Texas A&M, I started working as a youth minister at St Thomas Aquinas in College Station. Through the 3 years I spent there, God continued to be incredibly generous to me in the gifts he gave through the parish community and the work of doing ministry. I was able to pray with and for our kids and watch them grow up in the faith. At St Thomas Aquinas was where the Lord helped me to realize that he had given me a  heart for parish ministry and spiritual fatherhood. Once I realized that, I knew there was nothing left for me to do except enter seminary and more actively discern the call to diocesan priesthood.

My second year of Pre-Theology at Holy Trinity Seminary  was one of real rigor in formation. It was the kind of challenge that inspires you to do better and to strive toward achieving a good goal. And with that challenge, came a real growth in learning how to make a real gift of myself to something or someone else. This year, that gift came in the form of giving myself to finishing my philosophy studies, ministry as a hospital chaplain, and to my brother seminarians. 

Learning about, and continuing to make, that gift of myself will continue next year at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, TX where I will be beginning my theological studies. I am excited to move into this new stage of formation where I will be working to be configured more and more to Jesus the Good Shepherd. Please pray for me this year, especially for the grace of a smooth transition to this next step on adventure of priestly formation!

Brian McNaughton

Birthday: December 23rd
Home Parish: St. Vincent De Paul, Austin
Seminary: St. Mary’s Seminary
Level of Formation: I Theology

Patron Saint: St. Ignatius of Loyola
Hobbies/Interests: Sports, Superheroes, Computer Programming, Evangelization
Favorite Movie: Avengers Endgame
Favorite Music Genre: Praise and Worship
Favorite Food: Golden Kiwi
Biblical Role Model: Jesus
Random Fact: I once wrote a computer program to generate over 15,000 March Madness (college basketball) brackets. None of them were correct by the end of the first round.

Howdy! My name is Brian McNaughton and I’m in my first year of seminary. I enjoy playing sports and watching superhero movies. I have 3 younger siblings and 6 cousins that live in Austin, and I love spending time with them. When I was in high school I attended a youth conference where I saw thousands of young people joyfully praising God. At adoration on the retreat, I was filled with joy and I told Jesus that I wanted to make Him the center of my life! However it wasn’t that simple, and within a few weeks I was back to my normal life and routine as if the conference had never happened. I knew that God was offering me something better, but I was scared to give Him control and let Him change anything in my life. After high school I moved away from home to study engineering at Texas A&M University. The first year of college was difficult for me – I was lonely after moving away from all of my family and friends. After about a year I started to find friends at St. Mary’s Catholic Center, and these friendships were different. My new friends challenged me to pray every day, to go to confession often, and to go to daily mass. Amazing things happened when I started praying daily! Not every day was filled with sunshine and rainbows, but over time the loneliness went away as I began to believe that God is with me always. After college graduation I began to reflect on how God had changed my life during the past 4 years. The priesthood was something that had come up often in prayer and through other people and I finally said, “Ok God, I’ll look into this.” Around this time I began my job at ExxonMobil in the IT department. I loved the team and the work, but I continued to feel that God was calling me to something different. The desire to become a priest grew over the course of the year, and I applied for the seminary. Please pray for me, I will need all the prayers I can get if I am to become a good and holy priest! I would love to meet you and pray for you as well – my mailing address can be found on the Austin Vocations website. May God bless you and your family.

This past year I wrapped up what is known as the “Discipleship Stage” of seminary formation at Holy Trinity Seminary. One big takeaway from this last year was that I have become better friends with Jesus through prayer and grown in my trust in God. This upcoming year I will be moving to the “Configuration Stage” of formation at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston. While I’ll never stop growing as a disciple, I look forward to entering this new stage of formation with an emphasis on becoming configured to Christ the Priest through theological studies, pastoral ministry, and prayer. I hope to continue to grow in my “yes” to God’s plan for my life by saying “yes” to Him in the ordinary daily tasks of my life. Please pray for me for the grace of humility so that Jesus may increase, and I may decrease.

William Stivers

Birthday: May 23
Home Parish: St. Elizabeth, Pflugerville
Seminary Formation: St. Mary’s Seminary
Level of Formation: I Theology

Patron Saint: St. Louis of France
Hobbies/Interests: Cycling (Mountain and Road) Frisbee, table tennis, painting/sketching, writing
Favorite Movie: Star Wars: Rogue One
Favorite Music Genre: Gregorian Chant
Favorite Food: Pizza
Biblical Role Model: Joshua
Random Fact: I love to impersonate characters’ voices.

Hello my name is Will, I am a graduate of Wyoming Catholic College entering  my 1st year of Pre Theology at Holy Trinity. I am the oldest of four siblings, two brothers and a sister. I was raised Catholic and my parents homeschooled me. In High School  I started going to discernment dinners at St. Williams in Round Rock.  In Senior year at Wyoming Catholic College  I started the application process to diocesan seminary here in Austin,  but decided to take a year off after graduation to work as an EMT. After six months in Wyoming I decided to move back to Austin, and after visiting Holy Trinity I  finished the application.

For this year of my formation, I spent the school year at Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving. The formation there includes college courses at University of Dallas, but the great part of our formation comes from living in a community of prayer, brotherhood and spiritual direction. My biggest area of growth is in self-awareness, just recognizing where I still struggle, and where God has given me strength. That was especially apparent this summer during the Parish Mission Team. Myself and three other seminarians went to different parishes around the diocese, sometimes doing house blessings and conferences, and other times helping out with Vacation Bible School. It was very different from being in a Seminary with little contact outside, and God certainly showed me how much I had grown in virtue, and where He still wanted me to work hard!

This year, I completed my second year of Pre-Theology studies, ending my time at Holy Trinity Seminary. It has been a really good year with the Lord continuing to call me to Seminary. He got me through some doubts, and gave me some great spiritual practices and discipline this semester that will hold me in good stead going forward. I have also begun to develop a devotion to John the Baptist when I realized over a silent retreat that many events during my discernment have pointed me to this great Saint. This summer I will be at Creighton university in Omaha Nebraska for the Institute for Priestly formation and following that I will be doing my Theology studies at St. Mary’s in Houston in the Fall. A specific intention to pray for would be that I can really discern what idols I have been able to let go of, but also which idols I still need to eliminate, or new ones that I may be unaware of.

Cameron Kologinczak

Birthday: March 15
Home Parish: St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Round Rock
Seminary: St. Mary’s Seminary
Level of Formation: I Theology

Favorite Movie: Toy Story (or any other Disney movie)
Favorite Music Genre: Country
Favorite Food: Hamburger
Biblical Role Model: St. Peter
Random Fact: I was on a competition robotics team in high school.
Patron Saint: St. Francis of Assisi
Hobbies/Interests: Anything outdoors like hiking, camping, backpacking,  and kayaking.

I was raised in Round Rock and my family has been parishioners at St. John Vianney since 2000. I attended both Holy Family Catholic School from kindergarten to eighth grade and St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School, where I graduated in 2017.

I first felt God call me while altar serving at my home parish during my junior year of high school. It took me awhile to warm up to the idea that God might be calling me to the priesthood. About a year after I felt God calling me, I reached out and talked to one of the teachers at my high school. I still had a lot of interior conflict between what I wanted to do, engineering, and what I felt God was wanting me to do. At the end of high school, I decided to study engineering at Texas A&M because of the strong Catholic community and the great academics. Through St. Mary’s Catholic Center, I found the community that I needed to make the move into seminary through discernment events and helping with liturgy. I would not be where I am today with the example of many priests, Catholic schools, and the many people of our diocese that He worked through.

My first three years of seminary have really flown by. Through the grace of God, I have completed my philosophy studies at Holy Trinity Seminary and am preparing to move on to St. Mary’s in Houston. I am thankful for all those that God has given me along the way and look forward to receiving the gifts that  God has in store for me. Please continue to pray for me and all my seminarian brothers, that our hearts may be conformed to the heart of Christ.

Pre-Theology Studies

6-7 Years from Priestly Ordination

Michael Torregosa

Brandon Bain

Louis Jensen

Benjamin Martinez

Jean Mindiola

Chinh Ngo

Ryan Both

Luke Hubacek

John Ungarino

Michael Torregosa

Birthday: October 20th
Home Parish: St. Mary Catholic Center, College Station
Seminary: University Catholic Center
Level of Formation: Parish Year

Patron Saint: St. Thomas Aquinas (Confirmation)/Bl. Stanley Rother (Vocation)
Hobbies/Interests:  My interests include photography, podcasting, reading, writing, and having a good conversation with friends.

Howdy!

My name is Michael Torregosa. I am a Houston native and starting priestly formation as a seminarian for the Diocese of Austin.

When I began studying physics in Texas A&M University, my faith was non-existent and I had no friends. While I did lots of cool things in the university, nothing felt meaningful, and I sought something more. In despair, I took to the one thing I abandoned – the Church. I went to a Mass with serious conviction and prayed. The answer I got from God was an invitation from my pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Center, “Join us for daily Mass.”

I did not know it at the time, but St. Mary’s is blessed with students who desire not only to seek truth, but have already found it in the True Presence of Christ. They became my friends and invited me to Mass, hang out in the student center, go on retreats, and serve in ministries. I fell in love with the Church, and I sought to serve it.

One day, I asked God, “What more is there to do?” I did not realize at the time He was inviting me to discern the priesthood. He made it more obvious to me. A physics professor approached me one day and gave me an ultimatum – if I wanted to become successful in physics, I had to focus and spend less time at church. I wrestled with this for a week before switching my major to philosophy. I was not willing to give up the thing I loved.

From there, God has led me on an adventure to show my heart to myself. He led me on discernment retreats with the diocese, helping me learn what it means to have a heart for God.  He led me to give a summer up in  mission for the church in Guatemala and Oklahoma. In those places, he showed me the martyred heart of an Oklahoma priest, Blessed Stanley Rother, serving the Guatemalan people.

I am inspired to be a saint. Through prayer and trust, I abandoned my heart to God, and I know that through His infinite love for me, He will give my heart back to me with an even greater desire to love Him and His Church. I pray and hope to become a priest one day, confident in God’s call to discern His holy priesthood.

This year, I will be beginning a parish year at the University Catholic Center (UCC) at the University of Texas at Austin. There I be taking my natural talents, skills, and my experience from the past two years of seminary to work full time in campus ministry. This year at the UCC is meant to provide a real and immersive experience of pastoral ministry, providing an environment where I can grow in all aspects of my priestly formation before continuing my theological studies at a seminary. I look forward to this opportunity to be back at a parish and exercise pastoral charity — the charism of a priest’s heart — in my daily life.

Brandon Bain

Birthday: December 17th
Home Parish: St. Mary Catholic Center, College Station
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: II Pre-Theology

Patron Saint: St. Edmund Campion
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Hiking, Learning Languages
Favorite Movie: Interstellar
Favorite Music Genre: Alt Rock
Favorite Food: Sweet Potatoes
Biblical Role Model: St. John the Apostle
Random Fact: My paternal grandfather was a Royal Marine

I grew up in Sugar Land, Texas, the youngest of 3 kids. I was a cradle Catholic, our family’s Catholicism coming from my mom’s Cajun roots. I have memories of wanting to be a priest as far back as I can remember. As a little kid I remember very simply looking at our priests and thinking, “I want to be like him.” I went to our parish school, St. Laurence, PreK-8, then attended Strake Jesuit in Houston for high school. All throughout my time in Catholic schools, my vocation was very much affirmed and encouraged by so many role models and by the Lord in prayer. I studied Spanish and Classics (Latin) at Texas A&M, Class of 2020, A-WHOOP! I absolutely loved the time I spent at St. Mary’s Catholic Center in College Station, particularly in my involvement with FOCUS, altar serving, and SMYRT. After graduating from A&M, I entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Grand Coteau, Louisiana in the Fall of 2020. Shortly after entering, I discerned to leave the Novitiate to apply to be a seminarian for the Diocese of Austin, as I came to understand in prayer that the Lord was calling me to minister as a priest in a local setting, rather than worldwide. Over the years, the Lord has given me so many graces as I discerned my vocation and took concrete steps in my discernment. I look forward to my time of formation as a seminarian with this Diocese I have come to know and love.

This fall, I will return to Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas as a second year Pre-Theologian. I will continue taking philosophy classes at the University of Dallas. In my first year of seminary, I learned that the Lord is truly full of surprises and that in those surprises, He often wants to show us how to greater love from the depths of our hearts. This year, I pray that God will continue to show me how to love with greater depths, at all times and in all places. I ask that you pray that God might grant me the graces to persevere when things get difficult and to help me to remember the goal and plan He has for me.

Louis Jensen

Birthday: April 14th
Home Parish: St. Thomas Aquinas, College Station
Seminary: Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans
Level of Formation: II Pre-Theology

Patron Saint:  St. Edmund Campion
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Philosophy, Chess
Favorite Music Genre: Classical
Favorite Food: Pizza
Biblical Role Model: St. Peter
Random Fact: I built Lego castles as a kid

I grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, raised by loving parents who taught me the importance of the sacraments and prayer. We moved to Texas when I was 12, and when I was 18 I left to study physics at the University of Notre Dame. I continued for my postgraduate degree in computer science at Boston University. I moved back to Texas in my last year, and I have split my time studying remotely and working for a technology company. God has a plan for each of us, and in His plan for me, He guided me with several priestly role models from my youth. I am grateful to be entering Notre Dame seminary as I continue to discern my vocation to the priesthood.

I am very grateful for  a fruitful first year of formation at Notre Dame seminary in New Orleans. My first year of formation has been especially helpful in developing better habits of prayer. I look forward to learning more during my first assignment in a parish this summer.

Benjamin Martinez

Birthday: March 23rd
Home Parish: Christ the King, Belton
Seminary: Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans
Level of Formation: II Pre-Theology

Patron Saint: St. Ivo of Kermartin
Hobbies/Interests: Paddle-boarding, Dog-Walking, Reading, and of course Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Favorite Movie: 1776 &  A Man for All Seasons
Favorite Music Genre: Christian/Praise & Worship
Favorite Food: Home-made Tamales & Menudo
Biblical Role Model: John the Baptist & Simon of Cyrene

I am the middle son to two loving parents. My parents gave me the greatest gift when on June 17, 1990 I was baptized at St. Philomena Catholic Church in Honolulu, HI. I grew up in a small town along the California Central-Coast with my two brothers. I have wonderful memories of my family going camping and traveling all across the country to various destinations.

I made my first communion on May the 4th 1997 (yes,  it was an appropriate day to say “May the 4th be with you!”) In middle school and high school I put my faith on the backburner in many ways. But that all changed in college when I had a profound reversion experience in 2011 while on a mission trip down to El Salvador. While on that trip I encountered the reality of my catholic faith in the blood soaked vestments of St. Oscar Romero. Tertullian once wrote “the blood of martyrs is seed for the church” and my experience certainly testifies to the truth of this statement. In a moment of profound clairity I realized that there is a truth to the Catholic faith, and it is a truth worth dying for.  After that I knew my life would have to be different. I moved to Texas as part of a year-long Catholic missionary program and my life was changed forever. As part of that program, I worked at a shelter in the heart of downtown Houston and encountered Christ in what St. Teresa of Calcutta once described as “the most distressing disguise of the poor.”

Attracted by its religious principles, and commitment to Christian charity, I attended the Baylor University School of Law in Waco, Texas following my mission year and earned my JD. While in law school, I was actively involved in various pro-bono legal assistance clinics that provided assistance to the poor and marginalized. As a devout Catholic, I strive every day to carry my faith into the practice of law. As time went by, I began to feel that God was calling me to something more. I discerned a call to the permanent diaconate. I am so incredibly grateful to my formators and my brothers in that program and the community at Christ the King in Belton. As a result of the instruction/formation I received, my prayer life grew deeper and I could sense the Lord reshaping my heart for what was coming next…now God only knows what comes next.

This past year I began seminary formation studies at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, LA. The biggest take-away from that process has been a deepened relationship with the Lord, and a more profound sense of confidence in my identity as a son. I’m looking forward to continuing this great adventure God has called me to undertake. I would ask for prayers for guidance and wisdom as God continues to write this most joyful chapter of His story in my life, and I would assure you of my prayers also.

Jean Mindiola

Birthday: May 11th
Home Parish: St. Louis, Austin
Seminary: Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans
Level of Formation: II Pre-Theology

Patron Saint: St. Joseph, the Worker and St. Ignatius of Loyola
Hobbies/Interests: Mount Biking, Spiritual reading and chilling on my hammock by the lake.
Favorite Movie: Silence, by Martin Scorsese.
Favorite Music Genre: Country and Latin Pop
Favorite Food: Italian, la cucina della mamma!
Biblical Role Model: St. Luke, the Evangelist.
Random Fact: My cheat meals are Tuna Rice all mixed in a bowl.

Howdy, Fellows! My name is Jean Carlo Mindiola, pronounced as Jean Val Jean. Usually, I go by Cacco as a nickname. My home parish is St. Louis King of France Catholic Church and School, here in Austin. Originally, I was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Later, I came to the States 5 years ago after a journey of freedom in discernment and new settlements in America, as Columbus did many years ago. The oldest son in the family that went to Catholic schools from four years old up to High School graduation under the Jesuits’ care. Growing into Ignatian spirituality was such a blessing because I am now able to be a man for other men, specially with those who are in need around our diocese.

Coming from a strong Catholic family, my foundations in the faith are solid to start my discernment towards the Priesthood. It gave me the opportunity to develop an intimacy with the person of Jesus by doing all great works at the Parish, school and even my work environment. Once you fall in love with Jesus, there is no way around Him. Here, in our diocese I see Jesus in other people’s faces and the beauty of nature, colors and warm greetings of Austonians on my path through every sacred place or simply walking along the river. It is weirdly interesting to become a better Disciple inside the Heart of Texas.

After an intense year of studies in Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, and back in the routine between books, prayers, and the severe weather of hurricanes. I often immersed myself in the consolation of all the blessings that I received from my Heavenly Father and His acts of love during my summer at St. Joseph in Manor, TX. These experiences and memories with the pastor and parishioners brought joy and motivation to my days in seminary to continue my priestly formation. It is important to me your prayers as well as the support that you offered at your parish over this year and the one coming to encourage our youth to search their vocation. Now, I’m looking forward to visiting you at your parish, reconnecting with your family, and being present in ministry around our Diocese of Austin. As an update, this year I’m assigned to Street Ministry along with other four seminarians to serve the poor and homeless, in particular those living in Community First Village where I’ll be stationed over the course of the summer pastoral ministry. Please, pray for those that I’ll be encountering and for my own discernment to answer my call to the priesthood of Christ in the best way possible. And no worries, I will be praying for you as well too.

Chinh Ngo

Birthday: March 10
Home Parish: St. Patrick, Hutto
Seminary: Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans
Level of Formation: II Pre-Theology

Patron Saint: St. Martin de Porres
Hobbies/Interests: Volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Tennis, Soccer, Table Tennis, College Football, Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Fishing, Hiking, Camping, Gardening, Board Games (Catan, Dominion, 7 Wonders, Code Names, Guesstures…), Karaoke, Cooking, Reading (Adventures such as Lord of the Rings), Scripture Study (a lot of Dr. Scott Hahn’s materials and commentaries from Saints such as St. Jose Maria Escriva), and Apologetics.
Favorite Movie: Firefly, CSI, 24, Remember the Titans
Favorite Music Genre: Silence… but on rare occasions KPop and 90’s Pop
Favorite Food: Phở
Biblical Role Model: King David and St. Paul
Random Fact: I have always said that I only want to date one woman my entire life so I can learn to love like God loves. I have dated exactly one woman. Now God wants me to be totally His. He has granted me my desire and so much more. Thanks be to God!

When I was a teenager, Catholicism seemed like a system of restraints:  You can’t do this, you can’t do that.  But there is just so much to do and experience in life. There’s also that desire to belong somewhere, to fit in. You have to hang out with the “somebody” so you can be “somebody.”  So, I did.  I became friends with everybody from the valedictorian to the weightlifters, band nerds, and debaters.  I even became class vice president.  I graduated from high school with a full ride to college and started a business making quite a bit of money.

But like all things in life, after a while, all of these “accomplishments” faded just as day gave way to night. To the world I was this smart Asian kid that was going to “do great things in life.” Deep down inside I was thirsting, hungry for something more out of life… thirsty for some heroic deeds and hungry for the perfect love story, for the everlasting joy that seemed like a sweet memory I longed to remember but couldn’t. No matter how many friends I made, no matter how many tests I aced, and no matter how many certificates I had on my wall, I felt like there was something missing.

“It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness, he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise…”  These were the words of our late pope, John Paul the Great, to young people, to me.  “It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness…”

So here I am Lord; do with me as You will.

The good that came from a pandemic year was the opportunity to spend a lot of time at home, away from people, making room for silence to listen to the movement of the Spirit. Meditations on the rosary and daily Mass has a way of subtly drawing me towards God.

Applying for seminary has in many ways awakened even more my desire to find God in serving His Church. The conversations with priests, seminarians, and other men in discernment reminded me of how much priests are needed in our world today. The world longs for Truth, it longs for genuine Love. It is in need of shepherds not only preaching love, but living it in the depth of intimacy with God so that others might follow and find their way home to the dinner table of God’s family.

Though seven years of formation feels like a lifetime to pass through, I have to remind myself to take it one day at a time. I am excited to meet my brother seminarians and begin the intricate process of cultivating healthy friendships so we can build each other up to sanctity.

This year I had the privilege of studying the development of philosophy from Plato to Pope St. John Paul II. This study has given me great clarity in seeing the world and the many problems of modern society. My life was falling into a skeptical view of the world and the Church, in congruence with modern philosophy, but my professors taught me that good philosophy begins in wonder at the beautiful world that God made for us. This realism is, I am convinced, the antidote for the dreariness of modern thought. We don’t have to ascribe to the dishonest bias of modern science nor society’s ambiguous moral code. The Church offers us the unity and clarity of faith and reason in the wisdom of the Saints. St.  Pope JP II’s Thomistic phenomenology, for example, proposed that man’s consciousness is a mirror so that we can examine our actions and see the person we choose to be. A man who goes to work everyday to earn an honest living to provide for his wife and children can see that he is a providing husband and father. Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ encourages all of us to work towards a common good, not only in terms refraining from crimes against our neighbors, but also in terms of making our communities and businesses centered not on profit, but havens where families can grow. I am convinced that the just society the Church urges us to work towards is not only beautiful, it is also possible. Please pray that we seminarians continue to be diligent in our formation so as to one day be able to play a role in shaping the world to be more human and more fraternal.

Ryan Both

Birthday: August 30
Home Parish: St. Peter Catholic Student Center, Waco
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: I Pre- Theology

Patron Saint: St. Augustine of Hippo
Hobbies/Interests: Iconography, patristics, hiking, and drinking coffee
Favorite Movie: Ratatouille
Favorite Music Genre: I enjoy Anglican choral music, indie folk, and jazz
Favorite Food:  Is coffee a food?
Biblical Role Model: St. Simeon the God-Receiver
Random Fact: I like to write Byzantine icons!

I was born and raised in Seattle, WA, where I was baptized into the Episcopal Church but raised in an Evangelical home. After graduating from high school, I began studying at Baylor University in 2018 on a pre-law track with political aspirations. Our Lord made clear to me that He had other plans, and He began to call me into His Church.

During my freshman year at Baylor, I read the Confessions of St. Augustine, made good Catholic friends, and spent a summer interning at the Rescue Mission of Roanoke, VA. I resolved to convert while I was watching the sunrise from a mountaintop in the Appalachians. For several minutes, the sun had a deep red hue and was harmless to my eyes. Through this experience, I began to understand the nature of the Eucharist. Though it contains the fullness of God in His glory, He becomes harmless to us—even medicinal—under the form of bread and wine on the altar.

Around this time, I switched my course of study to Great Texts and began to discern a potential call to ministry. On the Feast of the Presentation during my sophomore year, I heard a homily about figures who carried Christ in Scripture. Before our Lord could carry us to the Gates of Paradise, the Virgin Mary chose to carry Him in her womb, St. Simeon carried Him in his arms, and St. Simon the Cyrene helped carry His cross to Calvary; by carrying Christ, these figure participated in His plan of salvation. When the priest elevated the host after the consecration, I knew what it might mean for me to carry Christ. I was overwhelmed by joy and filled with the desire to carry Him to others in the Eucharist.

After several years of discernment, I have decided to enter the seminary to further discern this vocation. Please pray that I would be attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and that I would engage my formation well.

This past summer, I was assigned to Fr. Henry Finch at St. Peter Catholic Student Center, where I wrote an instruction manual for altar servers, helped lead weekly formational events, and designed new worship aids for our pews. I look forward to the coming year at Holy Trinity, especially as I begin to learn Spanish and continue my study of theology! Thank you for your prayers!

Luke Hubacek

Birthday: March 31
Home Parish: St. Joseph, Bryan
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: I Pre-Theology

Patron Saint: Bl. Carlo Acutis
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy playing the alto saxophone, reading, drinking coffee, passing time with friends, prayer, and playing board games.
Favorite Movie: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Favorite Music Genre: Classical music
Favorite Food:  Pizza
Biblical Role Model: Saint John the Baptist
Random Fact: I am 19 minutes older than my twin sister

My name is Luke Hubacek and I was born and raised in Bryan, Texas. Born into a Catholic family, I grew up as a cradle Catholic attending mass weekly with my parents, Richard and Lisa, my older sister, Emily, and my younger twin sister, Rebekah. My faith journey started with my family; as my parents brought me to mass growing up, the Lord worked in my heart and placed a desire there for more at a young age. In middle school and high school I was involved in youth group at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Bryan, attending retreats and nights of worship and adoration, and eventually helping to lead the retreats for younger students as a junior and senior. In high school you could find me in one of four places: on the marching field practicing my saxophone, at youth group/church youth group, working on my classwork, or sleeping at home. After graduating high school I attended Texas A&M University where I graduated in May of 2022 with a degree in International Studies and a minor in Spanish. Although the thought of and desire for the priesthood had been placed in my heart in middle school, that seed stayed mostly dormant throughout high school, and I did not seriously start to discern whether the Lord was calling me to the seminary until the Spring semester of my freshman year of college. After getting heavily involved in ministries at St. Mary’s Catholic Center, I started to attend spiritual direction and discernment events at St. Mary’s. During this time, my love for Jesus Christ, his Blessed Mother, and the Church grew and I made the decision, in prayer, that God was calling me to apply to seminary, and to maybe one day be one of his priests. After four incredibly formative years at Texas A&M, I applied and was accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Austin in the Spring of 2022.

This past year as a senior at Texas A&M I worked at St. Mary’s Catholic Center as the liturgy intern. It was very formative to learn more about mass, train altar servers and sacristans, and sit in and give input into parish staff meetings. My greatest take-away from my last year in college and for the application process for seminary is trust. Trust that the Lord is leading me in the direction that he desires for me, trust that my mentors and friends who surround me have their faith in Christ, and trust that the Lord will give me what is necessary to live a life that is totally for him. I am attending Holy Trinity Seminary and the University of Dallas, and I cannot wait for the growth that I’m sure will take place in my prayer and my love for God. Please keep me in prayer that I may be diligent in my studies, faithful to God and his people, and abide in the Lord’s joy this year.

John Ungarino

Birthday: September 30
Home Parish: St. Peter Catholic Student Center, Waco
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: I Pre-Theology

Patron Saint: St. Joseph
Hobbies/Interests: Playing guitar, singing, reading, hiking, mountain biking, playing any sports
Favorite Movie: A Hidden Life
Favorite Food:  Anything with shrimp
Biblical Role Model: Moses/ Peter

I am very blessed to have been raised in a devoutly Catholic family, attending Catholic school in New Orleans all the way until high school, while being steeped in solid Catholic formation by my family’s involvement in Regnum Christi. After high school, I was very ready (though it sounds cliché) for a fresh start, looking to shed many reputations and relationships that I knew were holding me back from thriving as a Christian man.

I began studies at Baylor University in Waco in the Fall of 2017. I quickly became involved at St. Peter Catholic Student Center, which provided me with not only a beautiful liturgical life, but also my closest friends and a rich formation. On campus, I primarily studied Great Texts (an amazing program which covers all of the greatest pieces of literature, philosophy, theology, music, history, etc. that have shaped Western civilization throughout history) as well as Medical Humanities. This education was the perfect complement to the great formation I was receiving at St. Peter’s, and did a lot to engage my intellect as I fell more and more in love with Christ and His Church.

While at Baylor, my time was primarily spent trying to quickly finish my school work in order to create as much time as possible for prayer and ministry at St. Peter’s. Slowly, I began to recognize my growing desire to serve God’s people in a radical way. I soon realized that God was steering my desires toward parish ministry. Providentially, upon graduation, the campus minister position at St. Peter’s was open. After much pestering via email of the new pastor, Fr. Henry Finch, before he had even started at St. Peter’s, I was hired in July of 2021.

As I began my official ministry at St. Peter’s, it did not take long for my eyes to be opened in a new way to the beauty of parish ministry. Not only did I find a perfect outlet for my passions, skills, and desires, but I also became aware of the types of sacrifices that diocesan ministry demands. These crosses, in a strange way, drew me all the closer to falling in love with parish ministry, ultimately leading to my decision to apply for seminary.

I am incredibly excited to embark on this next journey as I continue to discover the ways in which Christ wants me to be His instrument in a broken world. Please pray for me as well as my brother seminarians as we pursue this mission!

College Studies

6-9 Years from Priestly Ordination

Porfirio Duarte

Daniel Mani

Wyatt Parlow

Jorge Cavazos

Jeremy Casal

Kevin Kelly

Jose Tobias

Jesse Saucedo

Andrew Ramirez

Jack Graves

Ethan Rice

Michael Snyder

Sean Bryan

Nahum Rodriguez

Porfirio Duarte

Birthday: September 15th
Home Parish: Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Austin
Seminary: St. Joseph Seminary College
Level of Formation: IV College

Patron Saint: St. Jude
Hobbies/Interests: I like sports and video games and  chilling in the park
Favorite Movie:  avengers
Favorite Music Genre:
Cumbias and country
Favorite Food: chicken wings
Biblical Role Model: Our Lady of Guadalupe
Random Fact: I’m a former DJ

Hello my name is Porfirio and I’m thirty two years old. I have two brothers and one sister: Gavino, Carolina and Jesus. Gavino Duarte is my oldest brother. He is thirty-five years old and my sister Carolina is thirty-three years old. Jesus Duarte is the youngest, he is 19 years old. My parents, Evodia and Modesto both live in Pflugerville and they lived there for 6 years.

My vocation started when I attended my first retreat at Sacred Heart parish. It all started by seeing all of the joy that the young adults were expressing. I said to myself, I want to have that joy. After coming out from my first retreat, I started going to the young adult group. Soon I became a leader helping young adults and teenagers. I was really inspired by the youth and I saw a lack of love that the youth were receiving. The more I was involved with the youth the closer I felt to God. After a couple years of ministry, I decided to seriously discern my vocation and attended a vocational retreat and now I have a much greater desire to be a priest.

Being a seminarian and having assignments during the summer has been one of my favorite parts of the year because these assignments fills me with immense joy and refresh my spiritual life. Meeting new people and new leaders has been a great blessing and has affirmed my vocation. This summer I was assigned to serve at community first and it has been a great experience because I have seen God working through the community that lives there . While  serving all the poor in the community, it has opened my heart to receive God’s grace most importantly I have grown more into my faith . Working together with the people at first community has been a wonderful experience because I have seen how God is working through their lives i have seen the many changes that they undergo in their way of leaving it has impacted my faith in the way i love my neighbor. I have seen and experienced meany wonderful graces  this summer. I’m thankful to have experienced community first. It has made my summer more fruitful. I have learned more about the people that I could possibly serve in the near future. I have learned more about my brother seminarians and most of all, I have experienced God’s presence in the poor that I served during my summer.

Daniel Mani

Birthday: August 11th
Home Parish: St. William Catholic Church, Round Rock
Seminary: St Joseph Seminary College
Level of Formation: IV College

Patron Saint: St. Dominic Savio and St. Mns. Romeo
Hobbies/Interests: I like to watch movies, hang out with friends and play video games. I like soccer and I try to keep up with the different leagues like Premiere, La Liga and Liga Mx
Favorite Movie: Bella
Biblical Role Model: Tobias
Random Fact: I was invited to play in the USA Soccer National Team for the U13 age

Hello, I am 32 years old and I was born in Chihuahua, Mexico but came to Texas when I was 8 years old. When I was 20 years old I met a great person who is now my best friend. His name is Hector. Hector and I started working together in a small swimming pool business that I had at the time. Hector had been back from being a lay missionary where he served for about two years. While we worked together, he would talk about his experience as a missionary and it was during those conversations that I first thought about dedicating my life to God. After discerning for about two years, I left to be a full time missionary with the Missionaries of the Servants Word and served for more than three years as a full-time missioner. While still serving in the missions I saw the great need that the world had for priestly vocations and it was in 2015 that I first felt the call to be a priest.

 This past year was great because I had a normal seminary school year away from the COVID problems. As COVID died down, I was able to serve the surrounding seminary community, which I was looking forward to doing sins last year. This year has been a blessing because I have come to know Christ on a deeper level, which has made my time at the seminary more significant. Next year I will be a senior, and it is exciting to know that I am close to finishing my first half of seminary formation. Also, next year I will have the opportunity to go on a mission trip to serve a community in need, which is something that I am looking forward to doing. For now, I thank God for continuing to call me closer to him and giving me and to all of you who keep me in their prayers. This next year I ask that you pray for me so that I may have a humble heart and continue to be open to God’s will.

Wyatt Parlow

Birthday: December 1st
Home Parish: St. Anthony, Bryan
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: IV College

Patron Saint: St. Luke
Hobbies/Interests:  Fishing, Hunting, Playing Guitar, Dinner with Friends
Favorite Music Genre:  Old Country, Classic Rock
Biblical Role Model: St. Peter
Random Fact:  During my time at Texas A&M, I became and EMT.

Just shortly before I began attending Texas A&M University in the fall of 2019, I began to feel a strong desire for an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father that would last through eternity, since life was about to get much more complicated with the start of college. I began to pray everyday in  adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It was through this prayer that the Lord gave me the security and peace of placing my entire life into His hands. Prayer became my greatest consolation in the near time of great uncertainty that I knew I was about to experience. Near the beginning of my first semester at Texas A&M I went on a retreat with St Mary’s in College Station. On this retreat we had great opportunities to meet other incoming students and connect with new friends who would be on similar journeys. However, throughout the retreat I felt overwhelmed with all of the new things in life and felt alone in the vast abyss of uncertainty. It was with this helplessness that I humbly entered into prayer in the chapel. Through my prayer I desired peace which I asked the Lord to grant me. The Lord responded with one word that I could have never expected that brought peace to my most inward self. The word was “priest.” I did not know how to respond to the word other than to ask questions that led to steps which led me here. The greatest peace being in the comfort that the Father of Truth is my greatest security since the promise of peace and love is steadfast and everlasting since truth, peace, and love are the very nature of God. And so now I begin my journey of formation for the priesthood of the Catholic Church. I am eager and hopeful, trusting in God’s divine wisdom and providence. I also look forward to serving the church in any way I can or the Lord calls. For those reading, I thank you for your prayers and thoughts. May God love you.

This upcoming year in formation, I look forward to finishing my undergraduate studies at Holy Trinity Seminary before moving on to Theology studies. This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Italy, making trips to Spain and Greece as well. I am so grateful to be able to return to the seminary in preparation for theology with these new experiences. I hope to use them throughout life and continue to share the joy of the universal church, especially with those men and women discerning priesthood and religious life. Please pray for me, that I may deepen my love for the faith even more as I learn to teach others and help them do the same.

Jorge Cavazos

Birthday: April 19th
Home Parish: St. Williams, Round Rock
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: III College

Patron Saint: St. Joseph and St. Faustina
Hobbies/Interests:  Learning new skills such as foreign languages
Favorite Food:  Anything with grains
Biblical Role Model: The Virgin Mary
Random Fact:  I have a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

I grew up hating everything to do with Christianity. It annoyed me, made me uncomfortable, and even scared me sometimes. Back then, I saw God as only a creator and a strict judge. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school, when I started my confirmation classes, that I began to understand who Jesus Christ is and I began to learn so much more about the faith. By the time I was confirmed my senior year, I was on fire for the Lord. But during my 2 years at ACC, I began to slide back in my faith. I still had the desire for God, but I was justifying the darkness that I was bringing into my life. When I transferred to UTSA, I made it a priority to plug myself into a Christian community to help me get back to where I was in my relationship with God. God had a community of non-denominational Christians find me and I began to pray, learn, and live with them. After months of tremendous growth and the heartbreaking end of a 3 year relationship, I found myself at Ash Wednesday Mass. Up until then, I would only attend Mass twice a year. Once on Ash Wednesday and the other being on Easter. It was my first time going by myself and I realized how beautiful, sacred, and true the Catholic faith is. That Lent was the catalyst that skyrocketed my faith in a way nobody (including myself) saw coming. In roughly 9 months, I went from believing I was going to marry the girl I was dating to possibly entering seminary in the following year. I believe God will not stop surprising me in life. I have come to terms that the only thing I can/must do is listen and say yes.

This past year has been a difficult yet joyful journey. Entering into my first year of seminary, I thought I knew myself pretty well, but it turns out there is a lot about myself that I still need to uncover. I discovered areas in my life that I need to grow in that I was blind to prior to entering seminary. Discovering my weaknesses has been challenging, but also rewarding. With the help of the faculty at Holy Trinity Seminary, my counselor, and my brother seminarians, I have progressed a lot this year in becoming the man God has planned for me to be. My plan for this coming school year is to continue to push myself in my formation and to continue to listen to the Holy Spirit who works through the community at HTS.  A specific thing that I am working on is better identifying my emotions and expressing them to others. I ask that you please pray that the bridge between my heart and mind continues to strengthen so that I can love the Lord and His people as He intends.

Jeremy Casal

Birthday: February 22
Home Parish: St. William’s Catholic Church, Round Rock
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: III College

Patron Saint: St. Pedro Calungsod
Hobbies/Interests:  Working out, reading, flashlights, theology, photography
Favorite Movie:  Avengers End Game
Favorite Music Genre:  Hip Hop
Favorite Food:  Sushi
Biblical Role Model:  King David
Random Fact:  I ate a pig’s eye once

I was born in Austin and baptized at St. Catherine of Siena. A few years later, my family moved to Round Rock where we began attending St. William Catholic Church. It was there at St. William that I grew in his faith, receiving the sacraments of Confession, Holy Communion, and Confirmation. I was homeschooled through high school, using a combination of textbooks and online classes. In my Junior and Senior years of high school, my home studies were supplemented with classes at Austin Community College where I was enrolled as a dual-credit student. I graduated in 2019, and went on to serve with the National Evangelization Teams (NET), a Catholic nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading the Gospel to the youth. It was during my time in NET that I realized that God was calling me to apply to seminary. I had been attracted to the priesthood since high school, and had attended many of the discernment events sponsored by the Vocations Office. The next step was now clear. I took the leap of faith and was accepted to be a seminarian for the Austin Diocese on May 7, 2020. I am humbled and overjoyed at this gift from God, and ask for the fervent prayers from all the faithful. I know that seminary will not be an easy path, but I am excited for the transformation of heart that comes by following the Lord’s Will.

It is shocking–almost alarming–how quickly time flies. I feel like I joined seminary yesterday. Yet here I am, beginning my Junior year. I have finished the majority of my required courses, and most of the classes I am taking this semester are directly related to my major. I expect these classes to be challenging, but I am ready for the challenge. Another component of my formation this year is my pastoral assignment. I am going to be journeying with catechumens at St. Rita Catholic Church here in the Dallas area. It will be a powerful experience to walk with these men and women as they prepare to enter the Church. I am sure my own faith will be strengthened as I see their zeal, their commitment, and their desire to serve the Lord.  Speaking of growing in my faith, I will continue to work on my prayer life. I am happy to be back at the seminary, where we have a regular schedule of common prayer, liturgy, and a variety of devotions. I am especially eager to begin another semester of spiritual direction. I have found spiritual direction to be very enlightening for me in the past, and I am eager to witness how the Lord will bless me through my spiritual director. Finally, this new school year brings many new graces: a new rector, new men entering the seminary, and a new version of myself. I am not the same man who entered seminary two years ago. But God has not changed, and He will continue to bless me. Please continue praying for me. I will pray for all of you.

Kevin Kelly

Birthday: July 25th
Home Parish: St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, Dripping Springs
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: III College

Patron Saint: St. Anthony of Padua
Hobbies/Interests: Boardgaming

I was born in Laguna beach California to a loving and Catholic family and lived in Orange County for two years until my parents decided to move to Texas. I am sixth in line of eight children, four sisters and three brothers. I lived in the same house for 15 years in Dripping Springs. I attended mass at St. Martin De Porres, where I served as an altar boy. I was homeschooled until I attended public high school. I went to high school at Dripping Springs where I made some friends and played four years of football. I graduated in 2020. I learned a lot about my faith from my parents when I was at home, and I also learned my faith when I had to defend it while at school. After the lock down I decided to get more involved with my parish and started to help in any way I could. I assisted at masses and helped in the office. I received great help and mentorship from the parish priest Fr. Justin Nguyen and was accepted to seminary right before that summer. I have been wanting to become a priest ever since I can remember. From playing the mass as a child, to always wanting to serve at the altar. There has been a yearning for the priesthood in my heart.

This past year I completed my sophomore year as both a seminarian and a college student at Holy Trinity Seminary. It was a great year full of learning about both academics and myself. My summer assignment this year is at community first village in Austin, where me and some of my fellow seminarian brothers will meet and minister to those who have experienced homelessness. Overall it has been a great year; please continue to support me and my fellow seminarians with your prayers!

Jose Tobias

Birthday: August 13
Home Parish: Santa Cruz, Buda
Seminary: St. Joseph Seminary College
Level of Formation: III College

Patron Saint: St. Joseph & St. Francis Xavier
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, biking, karaoke, and spending time with family and friends
Favorite Movie: Harry Potter
Favorite Music Genre: Alternative/ Pop Indie
Favorite Food:  Sushi & Fried Chicken
Biblical Role Model: Tobit

Hi y’all! My name is Jose Francisco Tobias Sanchez, but my friends and family call me “Paco.” I was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico and have lived with my family in Kyle, TX since 2007. I have four sisters, one older and three younger. I was raised in a catholic household and from an early age developed a great devotion to our Blessed Mother Virgin Mary and the Eucharist. My parents always motivated my sisters and I to grow in our faith and encouraged us to be active in our home parish. Prior to entering seminary, I worked in retail banking for almost five years and completed an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Austin Community College.

Growing up I was mesmerized by the wonderful joy I saw in all of the priests I met. As I got older, I started to feel a desire to explore the priesthood but always ended up being too afraid to do something about it. My desire to get closer to God and figure out His will for me led me to get involved in different ministries at my home parish. After years of parish ministry, I decided to start actively discerning my vocation and got involved in events organized by the Vocation Office. By attending discernment dinners, retreats, and visiting a seminary, the Lord strengthened me and gave me the confidence to apply to seminary. This Fall I will be starting my third year of seminary. I pray the Lord will continue to align my will to His will in order for me to continue serving him through this beautiful Diocese and its people.

“Entre tus manos está mi vida, Señor. Entre tus manos pongo mi existir.”

I spent the past year outside of seminary formation. During my second year at seminary, I was asked to take a medical leave to focus on my human formation. With the help and guidance of the Lord, I was able to work on myself and find healing. Spending a year outside of seminary formation served as a time for me to focus on my personal relationship with Jesus deeply, allow myself to strengthen my trust in the Lord, and reassure me of my calling to the priesthood. I look forward to continuing my seminary studies and pray that the Lord will be able to make a better use of me now that I have regained my zeal for the priesthood. I hope that during the next year I can apply what I learned outside of seminary into my own formation. I ask for prayers for my family and the families of all of my brother seminarians.

Jesse Saucedo

Birthday: September 11
Home Parish: St. William, Round Rock
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: II College

Patron Saint: Maximilian Kolbe
Hobbies/Interests: Writing, music, gaming, quality time with friends
Random Fact: I come from a Catholic, homeschooled family with eleven kids (7 girls, 4 boys)

I was born on September 11, 2000. Catholic from the cradle, I was blessed to be homeschooled and raised devoutly in the faith. By the time I reached junior year in high school, I began to feel a call from God to something more. After graduation, I moved into the Borromeo House of discernment, and intentionally discerned the priesthood for the next year. At the end of that, the call became clear that I was to enter seminary. I entered for one year from 2020-2021. Learning about myself, my faith, and service to others. However, the Lord had other plans for me, and at the end of summer I withdrew from formation to discern a missionary calling with Mobile Loaves & Fishes at their master planned project, Community First! Village. I grew a lot through my experience there, working as a volunteer, paid intern, and then eventually as full time staff, while at the same time growing in relationship with the poor and formerly homeless who were residents of the village. While I am happy and blessed to have experienced that, I ultimately felt called to return to seminary formation while chaperoning for my home parish at St. Williams in Round Rock for Steubenville Lonestar after a powerful prayer experience during solemn exposition. I return to seminary formation at Holy Trinity Seminary to pursue God’s plan for my life, and am looking forward to what he has in store!

This year I am returning to formation after stepping away from seminary for a year. I’m super excited to come back, and I look forward to having a regular seminary experience without all the restrictions made due to COVID. This year I wish to focus on growing in deeper friendship with Jesus through personal prayer, and growing in pastoral charity with others. If you could, please pray for me in my discernment as I learn to approach celibacy as a gift which opens myself up to deeper friendship with Jesus, rather than a cross which I have to carry.

Andrew Ramirez

Birthday: April 30
Home Parish: Santa Cruz, Buda
Seminary: St. Joseph Seminary College
Level of Formation: II College

Patron Saint: St. Felix of Nola
Hobbies/Interests: Reading Philosophy, lifting weights, playing guitar, writing stories
Favorite Movie: Rudy
Favorite Food:  Whataburger
Biblical Role Model: Abraham

I was born on April 30th 1998 in Austin Tx. I lived in Buda Tx growing up. I have one older sibling his name is Matthew. I went to Jack C Hays high school and graduated in 2017. Since then I serve some time being a NET Missionary and traveling the country putting on retreats for youth in 2017-2018 and 2020.
I entered into the seminary for one year in 2018-2019. Then discerned out because I didn’t believe it was my time yet. I was also youth minister at my home parish, Santa Cruz in Buda. Then I also went to ACC for 2 and a half years complying my philosophy credits.

I am a returning seminarian, I first entered for the diocese in 2018. But I had discerned out because I believed God was calling me to do other things in my life. The lord has called me back and I am now returning this year having gained more experience and knowledge outside of seminary formation. I am excited to be returning back to St. Joseph seminary college in Louisiana. Something very vital I will more intentionally form myself in is connecting each pillar of seminary formation to one another in the everyday aspect. Each pillar of seminary for the formation of the diocesan priest is important that I cultivate myself into it and form the specific spirituality of the diocesan priest. Spiritual, intellectual, pastoral, And human formation I have realized how important it is to form myself into each of these pillars well. Not to compartmentalize each one, but work to make each one connect to each other to form myself into a whole holy man. This year I will be an upperclassman. I will enter into third college. I’m excited to go back to study deeper about philosophy, over the years Philosophy is a subject that I have learned to fall in love with. Philosophy has been my favorite area of study because Philosophy teaches you how to think and it forms the intellect in greater wisdom of the true reality that we exist in. I’m also excited to be doing all the events that the seminary holds such as the bonfire game with Notre Dame Seminary to Abbey youth fest in the spring. Overall I am very happy to be seminarian for the Diocese of Austin once again. There’s no place I would rather be! Specific prayer intentions I ask for is my transition back to seminary life and for increase zeal and docility to the Holy Spirit.

Jack Graves

Birthday: May 17
Home Parish: St. Mary Cathedral, Austin
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: II College

Patron Saint: St. Joseph
Hobbies/Interests: Cooking, powerlifting, and board games
Favorite Movie: Inception
Favorite Music Genre: Folk Music
Favorite Food:  Curry Noodles
Biblical Role Model: St. Thomas the Apostle
Random Fact: I used to be a nationally competitive speed skater

I was born and raised in Round Rock, Tx. Brought up by my parents to be a Baptist and slowly lost the faith as I grew older. Growing up I loved math, science, puzzles, board games, sports and music. Eventually, I left home to attend Texas State University in San Marcos, Tx. There I studied business, civil engineering and started to consistently attend church again. It was also there that myself and three other friends started a bible study to find truth and fight sin. We were unsatisfied with the theology of our protestant church and wanted something more substantial. Eventually we stumbled upon the Catholic Church and decided to disprove it, as we were all very anti-Catholic. After eight months of studying the scriptures and church history, one by one, we had all been converted to the Catholic Faith. We were all accepted into the church shortly after at Our Lady of Wisdom in San Marcos, TX. About four months later, Christ deeply convicted me at mass to discern the priesthood and to do so with an honest dedication to God’s will. For me, this was crushing. The only thing I really wanted in life at that time was to have a family of my own. Everything I was doing, college, church, work, it was all oriented toward that goal: a family of my own. Over the next three months, God slowly gave me the grace to open up my heart and all of my desires so that he could form me, and direct me in accord with His will. As a result of this, I received a deep peace, an electric Joy, and a burning desire to apply to seminary and to be a priest. I applied for seminary as soon as I could after this and haven’t turned back.

This past year I entered and completed my 1st year of formation. Since I converted about two years ago, and first applied for seminary only 7 months after, I was asked to take a formal Propaedeutic year prior to leaving for College Seminary. This year included living at the Borromeo Men’s Discernment House, attending online formation classes, and working full-time. I also had the opportunity to live and work at St. Mary’s Cathedral this summer, where I spent my time cleaning, grounds keeping, and helping with the liturgy. My biggest take away from this year was the deep love developed in me for taking care of the church and the people of the church. I got to witness Pastoral Love in action and truly participate in it. I believe this has impacted me deeply and I am very grateful for the time I’ve spent in formation this year.

That being said, I am both heartbroken at the thought of leaving St. Mary’s and overwhelmingly excited to attend Holy Trinity Seminary. The next year I will enter seminary as a College-II Seminarian and study philosophy and literature at the University of Dallas and receive formation while living at Holy Trinity Seminary. I hope to grow in love for the intellectual life and ask that you please pray for me to master the topics I study this year. As you pray for me please know that I am praying for you as well!

Ethan Rice

Birthday: June 3
Home Parish: St. Mary’s Catholic Center, College Station
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: II College

Patron Saint: St. Cecilia
Hobbies/Interests: Playing the piano/organ/guitar, backpacking and hiking, and learning new skills
Favorite Movie: Forrest Gump
Favorite Music Genre: Classic Rock
Favorite Food:  Cheeseburgers
Biblical Role Model: Saint John the Beloved

Born in a small town in southeast Texas, I am the youngest of three boys. A cradle Catholic, I received all of my sacraments at St. Charles Catholic Church in Nederland, Texas. It was here that God planted a seed into my heart that would grow into the beautiful vocation that he is leading me into now. Like my brothers before me, I too played baseball, football, basketball, and soccer. I played baseball all throughout my childhood until I suffered an injury, ending my time of playing sports. As God’s good providence works out, I consequently fell in love with music and began playing the piano. Within two years of teaching myself to play the piano and to read sheet music, I had been offered the position as the accompanist at my local parish. Again, God’s good providence illuminated a path for me to fall further in love with our Lord and his church. It was through the gift of music that God touched my heart and left it inflamed to worship him. Upon graduating highschool, I decided to pursue a degree in philosophy at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. It is here that I began to open up to the possibility of a vocation to the Priesthood. At A&M, I met many people and entered into a vibrant and passionate community of worship. Upon meeting many influential friends, campus ministers, and priests, I began to discern whether God was calling me to the priesthood. After two years of discernment, many moments of grace, and the gifts of consolation, I decided to apply for priestly formation for the Diocese of Austin, and as of my acceptance I now am in formation at Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving, Texas.

This coming year, I will begin my first year of priestly formation at Holy Trinity Seminary. Beginning such an exciting and formative journey, I patiently ask our Lord for the graces necessary to abandon my heart to his divine and providential will. I hope that in seeking out God’s plan for me, I will experience growth both spiritually and intellectually. Please, pray that God would grant me the grace of abandonment and docility to allow his healing hand to guide my heart to perfection.

Michael Snyder

Birthday: January 16
Home Parish: St. William Round Rock
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: II College

Patron Saint: St. Michael the Archangel
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Ultimate Frisbee, Discgolf, Basketball, Woodworking, Board Games, Working Out
Favorite Movie: The Martian
Favorite Food:  My Mom’s homemade Chocolate Lava Cakes
Biblical Role Model: St. Paul
Random Fact: My Grandmother taught me how to knit when I was in elementary school

I was born Michael Andrew Snyder on January 16, 2003, into an amazing Catholic family. I have three older siblings, two older brothers and an older sister, all of whom I love deeply and am extremely grateful for. My parents were very intentional when raising us to make the Faith a common topic of conversation in my house, so my first exposure to the Faith was simply listening as my family talked. My family became parishioners of St. William’s in Round Rock when I was very young, and it was my spiritual home for almost my whole life.

I attended St Theresa’s and Holy Family for elementary and middle school, and then attended St. Dominic Savio for all four years of high school. They provided great environments for me to grow in my faith and simply as a person. After high school I attended Texas A&M for one year prior to entering seminary.

The call to the priesthood has been a possibility for me for as long as I can remember. Before I was even going to school yet, my Mom’s friends would call me the “little priest,” which stuck with me through my whole life. In high school, I denied this possible calling until senior year, when a talk by Fr Greg made me come face to face with it. I discerned that I should attend A&M at the time, but that marked the first time I truly discerned the possibility of seminary. By the second semester of college I knew that I had to take the call seriously, and after three and a half months of serious discernment, I began my application.

This last year has been a crazy roller coaster ride for me. At the beginning of it, I was just starting my first year at A&M as an engineering student, and my biggest concerns were trying to make a home and trying to excel in classes. While the possibility was present, I did not think that I would be seriously considering the seminary this year, let alone entering it. I finally made the decision to ask for the application halfway through March, which was most definitely the biggest decision I have ever made. With my whole application starting so late, the whole process was one of “reverent haste” as I rushed to get everything done while trying to do well on finals. It was an incredible experience that taught me how to keep acting in trust, even when it seems like things keep going wrong.

I am very excited and nervous for this upcoming year, but mostly excited. I will be beginning my time in Minor Seminary working on my philosophy degree at Holy Trinity Seminary up in Dallas. I don’t know exactly what my formation will look like, as philosophy is a far cry from my Engineering background, but I am excited for the chance to step out in Faith and let myself be surprised. I know that this experience will be amazing and transformative, but will also push me to grow in ways that I can’t even imagine. Please, keep me in your prayers over the course of this year, that I might be able to let God work in my life in the ways that He wants to, especially if it is hard. Know of my prayers for all of you!

Sean Bryan

Birthday: September 26
Home Parish: Our Lady of Wisdom, San Marcos
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: I College

Patron Saint: St.Jerome
Hobbies/Interests: Disc golfing, dancing with friends, playing chess
Favorite Movie: Nacho Libre
Favorite Music Genre: Texas Country
Favorite Food:  Fried Chicken
Biblical Role Model: John the Apostle
Random Fact: I used to pole vault

I grew up in San Marcos, TX. While growing up, I was in the Baptist denomination. In late high school, I began to study theology. Through my study of theology, I met friends who wanted to pursue truth and goodness with me. Those friends and I started a bible study to see if there was a church faithful to the one that the apostles started. We quickly stumbled upon the church fathers. Doing extensive research and remaining open to the Holy Spirit, we discovered the beauty of the traditions in the Catholic Church and converted shortly after. Not too long after my conversion, I decided to discern if God was calling me to a celibate vocation. Through talks with priests and couples, I found myself desiring to serve God with all I had. Conversations with Fr Gregg and Consolations from God revealed that I should enter the seminary. Now that I am at seminary, I can not wait to see where the Lord will take me.

Last year I began my propaedeutic year for the Dioceses of Austin. Through the application process, I grew in self-knowledge as I reflected on all God has done in my life and what he will be doing during my time in seminary. This year I will be a freshman at HTS, while at HTS, I will study philosophy. I hope to grow close in brotherhood with all my brothers at HTS and brothers in the diocese. Please pray that I may grow closer to Jesus’ scared heart this year as I become conformed to Him more.

Nahum Rodriguez

Birthday: July 18
Home Parish: St. Margaret Mary
Seminary: Holy Trinity Seminary
Level of Formation: I College

Patron Saint: Sts. Cyril & Methodius
Hobbies/Interests: Outdoors, working out, kayaking, journaling
Favorite Movie: Lone Survivor
Favorite Music Genre: Country
Favorite Food:  Mexican
Biblical Role Model: Tobit
Random Fact: I have a twin brother

I was raised in a Mexican, cradle Catholic family where the faith was very important and taught to my siblings and I at a young age. Despite this, for most of my early life I would only go through the motions and was Catholic out of obedience to my parents. It wasn’t until I joined a youth group known as Conquest where through the mentorship and example of the Legionaries of Christ, I grew in appreciation and curiosity in my faith. It was here where I first considered the priesthood but only as a career choice and not as a high calling. I then became involved in altar serving at my parish as well as Mobile Loaves and Fishes. In my junior year of high school, I had the blessing of attending World Youth Day in Panama City in 2019. This experience deeply strengthened my faith upon witnessing countless Catholics of all ages and countries being so passionate about their faith. I began to feel the call to the priesthood. After graduating from Glenn HIgh School, I moved into the Borromeo House which is offered by our Diocese as a house for men discerning the priesthood to live in community and have a seminary-like environment. That year was full of growth in prayer as well as in learning about my faith. After living at the house, I went to FOCUS Summer Projects in Georgia where I worked full time at a seafood restaurant and attended mass and holy hour daily, engaged in a weekly bible study and discipleship, and lived in community alongside 50 other college students. Throughout the summer the call was gradually increasing and there was a moment during Latin mass where I felt a strong desire to join the seminary. The call was present even when I denied it. I went on to live a second year at the Borromeo House and I was accepted into seminary afterwards. I am very excited and grateful to begin my seminary journey at Holy Trinity Seminary.

The application process taught me to be more organized and timely. This year I will be entering as a college freshman and I hope to grow closer in my friendship with Christ and in self knowledge. A prayer intention would be for my personal growth in the virtues of perseverance and prudence.

2022-2023 Seminarian Information