St. Mary’s Seminary welcomes new semester

September 8, 2015

HOUSTON — St. Mary’s Seminary saw 17 men ordained to the priesthood at the end of the spring academic semester. 
Starting this new academic year, there are 16 new seminarians from seven dioceses, including the first seminarian from the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

More than 50 have returned to continue their studies for the priesthood.

The seminary was filled with excitement as the quiet summer campus came alive with seminarians moving into the dorms and rushing to get from the chapel to different activities during the August orientation. 

Derek Junek, who was an attorney in general practice with a small law firm before entering the seminary, said he experienced God’s call to serve Him as a priest while attending Mass, sharing fraternity with the Knights of Columbus, volunteering at Catholic Charities and helping with Life Teen youth ministries.

“I am looking forward to formation with the faculty, fraternity with my brother seminarians, pastoral assignments and studying Liturgy,” he said. 

Man Nguyen, who worked at an airport in passenger service before he joined the seminary, said his pastor inspired him to join the seminary. “The one (person) that led me to join the seminary is my pastor, who is kind, willing to listen and always there to help me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to a deeper understanding of the Word of God, and how to put my trust in Him completely.”

Evan Simington, the first seminarian of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, said he began to discern the possibility of a priestly vocation when he was Anglican. “I am looking forward to receiving the theological education from St. Mary’s to help me grow and develop into a faithful Catholic priest,” Simington said.

Thuc Nguyen said he was studying at a community college and working as a full-time waiter at a small restaurant before entering the seminary. “The Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation have greatly impacted me to open my heart to God’s call to discern for the priesthood,” he said. “Also, attending St. Joseph Abbey Seminary for ‘come and see’ weekends helped me to better understand this special calling from God.”

Jacob Ramirez said, “In 2009, at Texas Tech University, I was at the Sacrament of Confession when I heard a call from God to ‘consider the priesthood.’” Ramirez, who taught Spanish at St. Rose of Lima Catholic School for two years, said he was surprised that he was receiving the call, but soon decided to enter St Mary’s Seminary.

“I am looking forward to living with my diocesan brothers and growing together in Christ,” he said.

Stephen Schietinger decided to apply to the seminary while a doctoral student for theology. “I was not satisfied with serving the Church by being an academic, and I was struck by the beauty of the Liturgy and the Sacraments,” he said. “I look forward to my time at St. Mary’s as an opportunity to center my whole life on Jesus.”

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