The Diocese of Charleston has 12 seminarians this year with two scheduled to be ordained over the next year.
Pending the endorsement of the seminaries, Deacon Filip Wodecki will be ordained in December and Deacon Mark Good in June, according to Father F. Jeffrey Kirby, vicar for vocations.
Three new seminarians have also joined the ranks. They are Francisco J. Onate-Vargas, Patrick Moore and Will Frei. This trio will hold the distinction of being the first to attend Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas. The others will either finish where they are or move over the next three years.
The diocese announced the change in seminaries last year with a goal of providing the men with an atmosphere that will better prepare them for the locales in which they will serve, knowledge of Hispanic culture, and the chance for the men to study together.
College seminary is a program that is marked by very broad discernment, Father Kirby explained. But the goal is simple.
“We hope that they come to an awareness to what they are called,” he said.
That should be made more clear at Holy Trinity, which is located on the University of Dallas campus. The young men will take classes in a co-educational environment with regular students.
“At Holy Trinity, they will have meals, and morning and evening prayer together, and will be involved in some kind of ministry in the broader community. They will also have an extensive immersion in Hispanic culture and language,” Father Kirby said.
In order to support the men in the vocation process, he urged people to pray and send letters, cards and encouragement, especially from their home parishes.
“These are young men still figuring out the basic questions about themselves and the world,” he said. “They need encouragement, so they know many of us are supporting them.”
Their addresses can be found on www.charleston vocations.com.
The seminarians are:
– Andrew Fryml, Fourth College at St. Andrew’s Hall at Seton Hall University, N.J.;
– Will Frei, First College at Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas;
– Francisco Onate-Vargas, First College at Holy Trinity;
– Patrick Moore, First College at Holy Trinity.
– Chris Crabb, second pre-theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University.
– Deacon Filip Wodecki, fourth theology at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Detroit;
– Deacon Mark Good, fourth theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.;
– Renaurd West, third theology at Mount St. Mary’s;
– Javier Heredia, second theology at Blessed John National Seminary in Weston, Mass.;
– Roger Morgan, first theology at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston;
– Rich Wilson, first theology at St. Mary’s Seminary;
– Stephen Beach, first theology at St. Mary’s Seminary.
Hometown/parish: Aiken, St. Mary Help of Christians
School: Aiken High School
Family: Dr. Wayne T. and Mary S. Frei, and siblings, Katie Lane, Caroline and Kyle
Pivotal vocation moment: My longing for the priesthood was a continual, gradual process. But the summer after my junior year in high school, I was fortunate enough to go on the Father Kolbe pilgrimage with Father Kirby. After laying my eyes upon the bones of St. Peter, I began taking my faith to a whole new level.
Who inspired your vocation: Both Father Kirby and Father James LeBlanc inspired me in this vocation in the sense of showing me what it means to lead a Christian life — to be true men of faith, and to love others even while being physically and mentally exhausted by the trials throughout the day.
Another man who I look up to is Pope John Paul II. He showed me that priests are ordinary men with extraordinary callings. I love the fact that he enjoyed hiking and skiing, and was able to participate in these adventurous activities during his ministry.
What are you looking forward to learning: Honestly, I am excited about gaining a deeper, richer prayer life and really discovering who I am.
As far as classes go, I am excited to dive into philosophy, as well as Spanish.
Favorite quote: “When you become what you’re called to be, you will set the world on fire.” — St. Catherine of Siena
Hometown/parish: Charleston, Blessed Sacrament
School: Bishop England High School
Family: Deacon James and Tina Moore, and a brother, Alexander
Pivotal vocation moment: During Mass, there was a moment when I realized the true beauty of the Mass and discovered that I desired to enter the seminary and seriously discern the priesthood.
Who inspired your vocation: I have been most inspired by my parents, my youth minister, and my parish priest. They have helped me to grow in my faith and have made me a stronger Christian man.
Something you are slightly apprehensive about as you enter seminary: I am somewhat apprehensive about leaving Charleston but I believe that I am being given a great opportunity for discernment and growth.
What are you looking forward to learning: I am most excited about learning theology. I desire to learn about as much of my faith as possible.
Last recreational book you read: “Left to Tell” by Imacule Ilibagiza
Hobbies: I enjoy hunting, fishing, and playing lacrosse and ultimate frisbee.
Jobs: I have worked for a paint factory in North Charleston the past three summers.
Favorite quote: “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.” — St. Augustine
Francisco J. Onate-Vargas
Hometown/parish: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico; Our Lady of the Hills, Columbia
School: Midlands Technical College, Columbia
Family: Parents, and six siblings
Pivotal vocation moment: Ever since I was about 7 years old I knew I wanted to be a priest. I enjoyed very much being involved in many church activities. It was not until I was finishing up college in 2010 when I made the decision that priesthood was something that I wanted to do.
Who inspired your vocation: Many priests have been a strong inspiration along the way; however, my mother has been an extraordinary inspiration. Through her remarkable example for helping others, her enthusiasm and her dedication to family and neighbors taught me the importance of service and devotion.
Something you are slightly apprehensive about as you enter seminary: I feel anxious about the unknown, the unexpected. I am very excited about the opportunity to discern my vocation more deeply, but I am also nervous, so please pray for me.
What are you looking forward to learning: I’m excited to learn about the church’s history and teachings, learning more about the faith and the priesthood formation.
Last recreational book you read: “Para Ser Mejor Joven” (To Be a Better Young Man) by Miguel A. Perez
Favorite quote: “He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.” — St. Augustine