Please say a prayer for the Men who will enter Novitiate for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph in July 2011. UPDATE: for their religious names click here.
Mark Gehl - Kentucky, 35 years old, studied at Wabash College (Indiana)
Late in high school, I rejected the Faith in which I was raised. This began a nearly 15-year departure from the Catholic Church. Despite achieving modest success in my career as a computer programmer, something was missing. Over several years, I tried to fill the hole by revisiting old hobbies, adding some new ones, buying a house, adopting a dog; but still, there was a void.
I finally, with God’s grace, working primarily through my parents and C.S. Lewis, revisited the Faith. I was blessed to return to the sacraments at St. Louis Bertrand Church, the Dominican-run parish in Louisville Kentucky. There, Dominican preaching and teaching, along with the community of parishioners, helped me rediscover the richness of the Catholic Faith. After about twenty-four months in the pews and participating in parish life, I began discerning a call to the priesthood. I eventually settled on applying to the Province of St. Joseph because of the example of the holy and engaged friars at St. Louis Bertrand. I’m also surprisingly attracted to community life, surprising to me because I have lived alone my entire adult life. However, I cannot see myself succeeding as a priest without reinforcement from the brotherhood of a religious community, evidenced by a reliance I feel from the friendships formed within the parish community at St. Louis Bertrand. Now, a little more than a year later, I am grateful to be taking the next step in discernment and looking forward to the Novitiate.
Born into a loving Catholic family which would eventually be filled with 5 gifted siblings (and too many cousins to count), I grew up with the benefits of both faith and fellowship. In Catholic elementary school, I entered deeper into the liturgy as an altar boy. Through Jesuit high school (Fordham Preparatory School) and college (Fordham University), I came to understand more and more the tenets of the Faith, but it was through retreats, service, and travels – notably a semester abroad in Salzburg, Austria – that I came to truly celebrate
it. There, the candles, local color, and all the artistic energy poured into mass on holy days and on Sundays opened my eyes to the staggering richness of our Catholic faith.
It wasn’t until after my graduate studies were finished and my career as a speech and language pathologist for the New York City public schools had begun that I attended my first World Youth Day. First in Cologne, Germany (2005), then in Sydney, Australia (2008), the vibrant faith of Catholic peers taught me to be opened to God’s joy, while the
intercession of the various patron saints directed me more specifically to where I was called to continue this renewal back home. Blessed Fr. Adolph Kolping (one of the patrons of WYD in Cologne) and Blessed PierGiorgio Frassati (a patron of Sydney’s WYD) opened the way to fellowship and local missions bearing their names in New York City. My involvement in the Catholic Kolping Society and eventually the Frassati Young Adult Fellowship laid bare to me my yearning for God.
As I followed the example of the various people involved in these groups, particularly the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, the Sisters of Life, and the Dominicans from the St. Joseph province – all of whom became pillars of my growing spiritual life – a calling to give my life to God’s holy priesthood became harder to ignore. Though many exemplary priests and brothers were active in my life during this initial discernment, I felt the call to follow St. Dominic, whose love for converting hearts very much beckons in this day and age. Now, built up by all these experiences, and borne up by the support and prayers of colleagues, friends, and the steadfast family that I began with, I humbly ask for the fortitude to join the ranks of the sons of St. Dominic as a witness for Christ.
James Hickman - Virginia, 27 years old, studied at West Point
All my life I've wanted to serve my country and the Church – the Cross and the Flag are central symbols in my life. Four years at West Point and five years as an Infantry officer granted me the opportunity to serve my nation domestically and in multiple Asian countries. I've traveled the world and experienced God's children in many different lands. I’ve learned that Truth, Jesus Christ, is present in our lives. Now I am happy that God has granted a new opportunity to devote my life to service, this time as a Dominican friar. I believe that I will be more influential as a Christian soldier identified as a son of St Dominic than I have been as an Army Ranger.
I did not come to the Order of Preachers alone. My formation as a Christian began when my loving parents brought me into this world and pointed me to Christ, His Father, and His mother. My parents are selfless people who have sacrificed for others, knowing that their personal example serves as a witness to God's love. They sent me and my two older sisters to Catholic schools from K-12th grade, allowing the Benedictines to form our hearts and minds. I still have a Benedictine spirit and find peace when I return to the Abbey in Richmond, VA, for liturgical prayer with the monks. Born on the feast of St Francis, I have a Franciscan heart as well, and one of my dearest friends from college is a Capuchin friar in New York. The Army remains dear to me, especially as I consider some of the officers who encouraged my faith as a cadet and young officer. My philosophy professors – this was my major – taught me how the ancients searched for Truth. One of the first Dominicans I met was a friar from Oxford who lectured at a Catholic leaders fellowship in France after my plebe year. And my vocation discernment continued.
I learned more about the Province of St. Joseph when my best friend from college introduced me to a holy man applying to the Order. His example and that of the other friars gave me assurance that I could entrust my soul to the formation and care of this Province. Reading the histories of the early Dominicans and its founding, I noted great parallels to today’s societal issues. As Pope Benedict XVI said in 2010, we are living in a “Dominican moment.” My personal interest in political philosophy led me to investigate the Order’s Constitutions, which I find remarkable. Most importantly I came to believe that I would find the greatest happiness in life as a friar. Whether I end up serving as a missionary in east Africa, as a pastor on a leading university campus or as a chaplain to the dying, I hope that my witness in my white habit will remind the world that God loves us, just as my family and friends have shown me. I know that I need brotherhood and a clear mission in order to live my vocation, and I hope that God’s Dogs will provide all that I need and more.
I come from a family of five children, of which I am the second. I was born in a neighborhood adjacent to Berkeley, California, and shortly after the year of my birth, both of my parents came into the Church. My earliest memories of the Faith are of attending Mass at the Dominican parish of St. Mary Magdalene. When I was ten years old, my family moved from Berkeley to Steubenville, Ohio. This move had a transformative effect on my family's faith, and it was in Steubenville that the Faith became an integral part of my everyday life.
After finishing high school studies, I entered the University of Michigan School of Music, where I completed a Bachelors of Music in Piano Performance. In the summer between my freshman and sophomore years, I experienced a vivid call to the priesthood - a call which caught me entirely by surprise. After that summer, I knew that it was only a matter of time before I would apply to begin life as a seminarian.
In 2009, I became a seminarian for the Diocese of Steubenville and entered the Pontifical College Josephinum. In the second of my two years at the Josephinum, I became interested in the Order of Preachers. After much reflection, counsel, and prayer, I began to sense that the Dominican's call to be strengthened by community, nourished by contemplation, and driven to proclaim the Gospel answered the most urgent questions of my discernment.
Hence, at the end of my pre-theology studies at the Josephinum, I applied to the Province of St. Joseph. I am very excited to be entering the Novitiate this July, where I will have the opportunity to offer to St. Dominic, Our Lady, and God my greatest desire, which is to share the Good News that I have been given.
I attended Catholic schools through high school; then I enrolled at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX. As a freshman I read early Christian texts: The Rule of St. Benedict, Athanasius' On the Incarnation and Life of Antony, and St. Augustine's Confessions. These authors clearly presented the Christian message and way of life, and their works deeply touched me. I was also blessed with venerable and learned professors, many of whom were priests. During my sophomore year I first began to contemplate an entrance into religious life. In my junior and senior years I worked for Emmaus Ministries, a Christian organization based in Chicago that seeks to bring the love of Christ to male prostitutes. This work nourished in me a missionary spirit. Also, at UST, St. Thomas Aquinas was held up as a model Christian thinker. Through him, I developed an interest in The Order of Preachers.
In 2008, I enrolled at The School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. While at CUA I developed a relationship with the Dominicans who live across the street at the Dominican House of Studies. I earned a PhL from the School of Philosophy, writing on Aristotle's theory of life. I then took a teaching job at a small Catholic school in Manchester, NH, named Holy Family Academy. There I taught students aged twelve to eighteen. I taught a variety of subjects: Philosophy, Algebra, English Literature, and Sacred Scripture. I also served as coach of the boys' basketball team and sung in the school choir. What I most enjoyed, however, was reading the Scriptures with the ninth-graders. In becoming a Dominican preacher, I look forward to entering more deeply into the Word of God, to reading the Scriptures within the Dominican tradition and with the help of my brothers in the Order, and to preaching that Word to the world.
Paul Camurati - New York, 24 years old, studied at Cooper Union (New York City)Although a New Yorker born and raised, my earliest and fondest memories involve camping, skiing, and swimming with my parents and older sister. From the beginning of my studies I had much to learn from my father (who recently sold his professional photography lab) and mother (who works as a school nursing supervisor). In the course of our childhood, my sister and I grew to love learning for its own sake. Given the wonderful role models in our own family, fascination and inquiry seemed (in retrospect) to have flourished almost effortlessly. It was this consuming passion for truth that eventually led me to accept the Catholic Faith in its fullness during my sophomore year of college after a substantial detour. It was this conviction that sustained and nourished my faith in the course of reevaluating the secular humanism that had previously framed my views.
While studying Mechanical Engineering at the Cooper Union in Downtown Manhattan, I grew to know and admire the Dominican Friars who served the Campus Ministry at New York University. Speaking from the tradition of authentic humanism, St. Irenaeus wrote that the glory of God is man fully alive. It was at the University Parish of St. Joseph's that I saw this principle in action - the glory of God in His priesthood revealed by men “fully alive” in their pursuit of God's Truth.
After yet another detour in the working world, I have concluded that the place for further discernment is the Dominican Novitiate. It has certainly been a long journey, but I am confident that Our Lord can bring His purpose to completion in me through my gifts (and faults) and those of my brothers in community life. May it bear the fruit befitting Our Lord and those made in His image that we may proclaim the Kingdom that has truly come among us.
Timothy Danaher - Ohio, 24 years old, studied at Franciscan University of Steubenville
I grew up in Steubenville, Ohio, where my parents William and Theresa remained after attending Franciscan University. Most memories of that time involve Little League baseball and swimming pools. I am the second of four children: The oldest, Andrew, lives in Phoenix with his wife, while my younger siblings, Kevin and Katie, both attend the university.
I was enrolled in parochial schools, and stayed closely tethered to the faith by our parish youth group and a core of good friends. I followed my parents to their alma mater, where college life certainly had its richness: new friends and faces, athletics, theater, summers fishing in Alaska, a semester in Europe, reading G.K. Chesterton, and a tremendous dating relationship for 2 years.
In November of my senior year, my relationship was ended, and I began to have thoughts and desires towards the priesthood. I first came to know the Dominicans by reading meditations in their Magnificat publication, as well as through a friend, Gregory Pine, who has since entered. That spring, I visited the House of Studies for the first time, and my affinity for them has continued to grow.
I graduated in May 2009 with degrees in Literature and Theology. Soon after, I moved to San Diego, CA to live with friends and spend time in discernment. I quickly found employment there as a lifeguard. During my year of surf and sun, I attended Mass with Fr. John Paul Forte, OP of the Western Province, who became my spiritual director and a close friend.
In June of that year I received a job offer to work as Director of Youth Ministry at a parish in Denver, CO. I soon made the move and spent the year under Fr. Michael Pavlakovich at Light of the World Catholic Church. The joys of this last year further confirmed my desire to work in ministry, while longing for the priesthood grew and grew.
I am strongly attracted to the Dominican charism of preaching, to share the fruits of contemplation. I admire their unique position of defending orthodoxy, while staying in touch with what is contemporary. It is my hope that a novitiate year brings further confidence in a lifelong Dominican vocation.
Eddie McCullough - Maryland, 24 years old, studied at Mt. St. Mary's University (Emmitsburg)
I was born in Baltimore, MD to Nancy and Ed McCullough. I do not have any brothers or sisters. I was raised Catholic, and sent to Catholic grade school and high school. By the end of eighth grade (ironically right around the time I was confirmed) I had fallen away from the Faith. In high school I would have considered myself an agnostic. I figured there was probably a God, but that He didn't reveal anything or have a will. In short, He had little to do with real life.
In high school everything appeared normal: I achieved good grades, got along well with parents and friends, and participated in extracurricular activities. Internally, the lack of meaning was starting to hurt. Though I couldn't identify it. When I arrived to college, I took some a freshman seminar class taught by an economist named Dr. John Larrivee. He assigned Viktor Frankl, Robert Fogel, Aldous Huxley, Gregg Easterbrook, John Paul II, and Solzhenitsyn for class. In reading these texts and in discussion with Dr. Larrivee I came to understand the coherence of faith and reason and I started going to church again with my friends.
I started studying philosophy with Dr. Michael Miller the following year and read Augustine, Boethius, Aquinas, and Pieper. At this point my moral life started to align more with my beliefs and I experienced what I would call my conversion experience. Through the following two years I studied more, got into spiritual direction, started going to daily Mass, saying the Rosary and first had the thought of being a priest while studying abroad in Ireland my junior year.
When I was a senior I was first introduced to the Dominicans by a diocesan seminarian. We were talking about the intellectual side of the faith and vocations, and he said I should check out the Dominicans. I talked to Fr. Bill Garrott OP that spring and he told me that "a hasty entrance makes a hasty exit." He advised that I wait a little while and do something else first. So I joined the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and worked as a campus missionary for two years: first at NYU, then at Ramapo College in New Jersey. At NYU I worked with the Dominican priests running St. Joseph's University Parish. Working day in and day out with them I realized that this way of life really might be for me.
I am looking forward to the life of the Order and its apostolates. A life of study and preaching is what I believe I have always sought, consciously and unconsciously. The Church needs the Dominican charism in this time where challenges to faith are very real. I desire to follow Jesus Christ the Truth into the Order.
Christopher Beale - West Virginia, 23 years old, studied at University of Virginia
I was born in a small town in West Virginia along the Ohio River and was the second of what would be seven children born to my parents, David and Lauretta. When I was in the fifth grade, my family moved to another small town, though this time in southern Virginia. As my father was Baptist and my mother Catholic, my siblings and I were brought up in both traditions, attending Baptist Sunday School one week and CCD the next. On top of this, I was actually baptized Maronite Catholic, though raised Roman Catholic. Hence, much of my youth was spent exploring different aspects and avenues of the Faith.
Though by the time of my Confirmation in high school my entire family had become “full-time Catholics,” I did not completely embrace the Faith until my undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia, where I first encountered the Dominicans. I found that I was drawn to the friars’ focus on the Truth, as well as their more intellectual approach to preaching the Faith. As I progressed in my studies, I found that I became increasingly drawn to the Church and began to consider the Priesthood in a favorable light, after years of having resisted the idea of a Religious Vocation. However, by this time, I was in the middle of writing my Master’s thesis and trying to figure out what I would do immediately after graduation. Consequently, I decided to put off taking the time for serious discernment until after I had graduated and settled into something resembling a responsible lifestyle.
I eventually landed a job in the Northern Virginia area with a government contractor, doubling as a systems engineer and political science analyst. After working for a few months, I began to notice an ever-growing desire to give God a more central role in my life. I soon sought to explore this desire through spiritual direction, which quickly turned to seriously discerning a Religious Vocation and my eventual application to the Province of St. Joseph.
First and foremost, I desire to become a Dominican Friar; I am willing and desire to serve in whichever capacity I am most needed, whether it be in a mission abroad or university at home. Nevertheless, coming off of my recent experience in graduate studies in political science, I am very interested in the choices people make, and, at some point, I hope to explore the soundness of decision theoretic approaches in the social sciences, especially with respect to moral theology.
Brian Stephan - California, 22 years old, studied at Princeton University
James Matous - Ohio, 23 years old, studied at University of Pittsburgh
I was born on February 22, 1988 to John and Diane Matous. My parents raised me with my two older sisters in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Prior to entering high school, I moved to Columbus, Ohio with my parents. I then pursued a Bachelor of Science in the Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.
I was fortunate to have been raised Catholic and attend Catholic schools for most of my life, but by high school my faith was simply something that I did on Sundays. During college though, it transformed into something greater. My faith became the center of my life and the definition of who I was. I was blessed with the presence of the Oratorian Fathers on campus and a strong community of Catholic students.
I experienced a deeper conversion during my senior year while reading the lives of the saints. In particular, I began to understand the reality of the universal call to holiness, and for me, it manifested itself as a deep attraction to the religious life and the spiritual fatherhood of a priest. This put me in an interesting situation because at the time I was dating a wonderful woman and had been accepted into several MD/PhD dual degree programs for the upcoming school year. But the Lord provided the necessary graces as he always does, and I decided to take a year off to discern God’s will.
I would like to say that my discernment was easy or that I was initially drawn to the Dominicans, but I cannot. After spending time with other religious communities, the Lord led me to the Dominicans mostly through the witness of the Dominican friars at St. Patrick’s in Columbus, Ohio. What initially attracted me was the common life of the brethren and the balance between the contemplative and active life. I was drawn towards the mission of contemplation and study for the sake of preaching and the salvation of souls. As I spent more time with the friars, I realized that it was this community that I was looking for all along and that my heart truly belonged to the Order of Preachers. I do not know how I will serve the Order, but I am excited to serve in whatever way is necessary and I pray that I may always have the grace to say ‘yes’ to the will of God.
Stephen Paquin - Maryland, 22 years old, studied at Yale University
I was born and raised by a Catholic family in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland. I have one younger sister. My father is a mechanical engineer, and my mother works as a pediatric nurse. I am blessed to have grown up close to the Church- I attended Catholic schools from Kindergarten through high school, and I spent a great deal of time working in my parish rectory, serving as an altar server, lector, peer minister, etc. Despite this exposure to the faith, it wasn’t until college that I came to embrace the person of Jesus Christ as Truth.
Having been thrown into the cultural and existential melting pot that is Yale University, I was forced to encounter countless perspectives on reality I had never before faced. My experience was, at first, a deeply painful one - many of my traditional beliefs were challenged constantly, and I searched tirelessly for something which was truly worth loving. This search even manifested itself in my academic pursuits. I moved from studying primarily Mathematics and Physics to majoring in Humanities, hoping to answer some of the more fundamental questions of existence in the process. Ultimately, by the grace of God, I was led back to the Church through the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, the radical witness to holiness of a few of my closest friends, and the preaching of the Dominican Friars at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, CT. The devotion of the friars, along with my growing love for Thomism, led me to investigate the Canes Domini.
Since then, I have been able to imagine no greater service or privilege than walking in the footsteps of St. Dominic himself. I have come to recognize the Dominican form of life as I recall it being described on one of my vocation retreats: “the fullest recovery of the apostolic life”. The Dominican commitment to contemplation and bearing forth the fruits of that contemplation through preaching is, I believe, the authentic embodiment of that vocation to which the apostles themselves were once called. Theirs was a life of intimate union with our Lord, and their deep love for Christ led them to seek, also, the salvation of all men and women through their preaching. If it be His will, then I hope that I, by His grace, might do the same.
You are cordially invited to our Solemn Profession at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC on Saturday August 13, 2011 at 10:30AM
*open to vocation candidates & family of professandi only*
due to space restrictions at the Dominican House of Studies
You are cordially invited to our Simple Profession
at St. Gertrude Church in Cincinnati, Ohio on
Monday August 15, 2011 at 11:30AM
The Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph with gratitude to God joyfully announce the Simple Profession of their brothers:
Brother Adam Bonaventure Chapman
Brother Philip Humbert Kilanowski
Brother Michael Thomas Davenport
Brother Frank-Paul Peter Benedict Sampino
Brother Curtis Dominic Mary Verner
Brother Jesse Joachim Kenney
Brother Britton Raymund Snyder
Brother Matthew Jacob Bertrand Janczyk
Brother Ryan Joseph-Anthony Kress
Brother Michael Mary Weibley
Brother Patrick Mary Briscoe
Brother Adam Louis Bertrand Mary Lemoine
Brother Robert John Sica
Brother Gregory Maria Pine
Brother Robert Athanasius Murphy
Brother Santiago Tomás Martín Rosado
On the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Monday, the Fifteenth of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, at half after eleven o’clock in the morning, at Saint Gertrude Church, Madeira, Ohio.
You are also invited to the novitiate celebration of the Solemnity of our Holy Father, St. Dominic
in St. Gertrude Church
on Monday August 8 at 11:30AM.
Our next class of men to enter novitiate (see left column) will receive the habit in a closed ceremony in St. Gertrude Priory in Cincinnati on the morning of August 8, 2011 on the Feast of our Holy Father, St. Dominic. Though this ceremony is closed, it is possible to see much of what happens in our vocation video "Leaving All Things Behind" which was filmed during the vestition of last year's novitiate class. The newly vested novices will join the Dominican & parish communities at the 11:30AM Mass for the Solemnity of Our Holy Father, St. Dominic in the church (all are welcome).
- yours in Our Holy Father St. Dominic,
Fr. Benedict OP